On Whether to Prefer Pain to Pass

Tom Dougherty
Vol. 121, No. 3 (April 2011), pp. 521-537
DOI: 10.1086/658896
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658896
Page Count: 17
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

On Whether to Prefer Pain to Pass
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


Most of us are “time-biased” in preferring pains to be past rather than future and pleasures to be future rather than past. However, it turns out that if you are risk averse and time-biased, then you can be turned into a “pain pump”—in order to insure yourself against misfortune, you will take a series of pills which leaves you with more pain and better off in no respect. Since this vulnerability seems rationally impermissible, while time-bias and risk aversion seem rationally permissible, we are left with a puzzle.