Inspired by Princeton's recent (and very interesting) "Workshop on Well-being", I've been thinking about the debate between Bradley and Dorsey over the question: Where in time should Desire Theorists "locate" the benefit of a satisfied future-directed desire? At the time (t1) of the person's having the desire, or the later time (t2) where the object of the desire, i.e. the desired "good", is located?
I'm not sold on the idea that harms and benefits must be temporally located at all. But supposing we do want to locate the benefit here, the former option -- locating it at the time of the state of desire -- seems to me to make most sense. This may be illuminated by translating welfare talk into 'for the sake of' talk.
Let's say that (i) S at t1 desires that P obtains at t2, and (ii) P does indeed obtain at t2. According to the desire theory in question, P's obtaining at t2 is good for S, in virtue of S's desire at t1. The question is: is P's obtaining at t2 good for S at t1, or at t2? Or, better: is P's obtaining at t2 desirable for the sake of S-at-t1, or for S-at-t2?
This re-statement helps to bring out that, in assigning "temporal locations" to harms and benefits, we are not thereby treating them as some kind of ghostly substance that itself has a kind of physical presence in space-time. Rather, it is just to pin down more precisely the recipient of the harm or benefit. It is not just S-as-a-whole that is harmed or benefited (we are supposing), but specifically the momentary timeslice that is S-at-t1, or S-at-t2. And when seen in these terms, it's clear that the relevant recipient is the timeslice doing the desiring, not the timeslice (if there even is one) that happens to be temporally co-existent with the previously (but no longer) desired object.
So this suggests that Desire Theorists who want to count future-directed desires should reject Bradley's Internalism ("How well things are going for a person at a time is wholly determined by the things happening at that time that are intrinsically good or bad for that person.") in favour of Dorsey's Time of Desire View ("If S desires at t1 that P, S benefits at t1 iff P obtains at any time").