Imagining Transformation and Empathy for Future Selves
To understand a transformative experience, we often attempt to mentally model or imaginatively project ourselves into the possible future experience, that is, we attempt to imaginatively empathize with our possible future selves. However, actually experiencing these transformative changes can affect our judgments about what these subjective futures will be like (for us and for those around us). I will explore the way that transformative experience can put us in the position of regarding our future selves as epistemically and psychologically alien to our current selves, and how this raises a paradox of empathy. I'll address related issues involving life-defining decisions, preference change, and the possibility of self-deception, and will explore, as a special case, how fear of alienation and corruption is embedded in skeptical resistance to the possibility of religious transformation.
Laurie Paul ist Professorin für Philosophie an der Universität von North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Im Wintersemester 2016/17 hält sie sich als Visiting Fellow am CAS auf.