Choosing brings change. A major life choice, a “big decision,” as Edna Ullmann-Margalit termed it, brings the possibility of changing who you are. Richard Pettigrew’s important new book, Choosing for Changing Selves, explores theories of decision-making for choices that change us, with a particular focus on life-changing decisions.

Life-changing decisions are decision cases where a persisting agent, through their choice, creates a new self, through replacing their values—that is, replacing that self’s utility function. (Take the persisting agent to be constituted by a series of appropriately related selves, and selves to be defined by their values, and by extension by their utility functions.) Such cases are of deep philosophical and practical interest, involving questions about knowledge, evidence, and experiential value, and concerning real world choices such as choosing to have a child, determining one’s future medical care, or getting a divorce (Bykvist 2006; Ullmann-Margalit 2006; Paul 2014).

The central...

You do not currently have access to this content.