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Self-Bias, Time-Bias, and the Metaphysics of Self and Time



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1 Caspar Hare June 2007 Published in the Journal of Philosophy CIV no 7 July 2007 please cite that version Self Bias Time Bias and the Metaphysics of Self and Time 1 Self Bias It is common to have a slightly exaggerated sense of the significance of your own joys and miseries but grand self importance is rare Louis XIV was grandly selfimportant He believed that when he consumed too much foie gras France suffered gastric pain When he took satisfaction from the construction of a new fountain in the grounds of Versailles that feeling would settle over his natural kingdom from the frigid poxy docks of Brest to the steaming cholera ridden slums of Marseilles For Louis self indulgence was a national mission When we have the state in mind we are working for ourselves The welfare of the one creates the glory of the other When the former is happy lofty and powerful he who is the cause of it has glory too and consequently should enjoy more than his subjects with regard to himself and to them everything in life that is most pleasant 1 We the undistinguished masses are less fortunate than Louis As one of the masses I know that I have a set of unique qualities a unique height a unique weight a unique time and place of origin and so forth but these give me scarce grounds for thinking that I occupy a special place in the larger scheme of things that my pleasures and pains are more significant than anybody else s I am not the physical embodiment of a national Many thanks to Anthony Appiah Paul Benacerraf Karen Bennet Akeel Bilgrami Ned Hall Simon Keller Rae Langton Gideon Rosen and in particular Mark Johnston for helping me to develop the ideas here 1 Louis XIV M moires for the Instruction of the Dauphin Paul Sonnino trans and ed New York 1970 2 spirit I have not been chosen by God as his special representative on Earth I am hardly stronger faster or more delicate than the next person And there are seven billion next people This means that although I may be no less chronically



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