• Rasselas

    His point isn’t that you can’t regret anything in the past if you value a contingent thing in the present a lot. The point, I think, is that it is irrational to regret any past state of affairs that was a necessary condition for a given present state of affairs if the following condition holds: you prefer a world with the given present state of affairs to every world without the present state of affairs. We value a lot of states of affairs for which that condition doesn’t hold. I bet you deeply value your job, but you can think of possible worlds where you have a different job and you probably prefer some of those worlds to the actual world. As I see it Caplan is just saying that he doesn’t prefer any world in which his kids have different characteristics to the actual world, so if any of the necessary conditions for them having those characteristics had not been in place a world that is worse than the actual world would have come about.