Fehige defends the asymmetry between preference satisfaction and frustration on rationality grounds. I start from a “preference-affecting view” in this comment, and in replies, describe how to get to antifrustrationism and argue against a symmetric view.
Let’s consider a given preference from the point of view of a given outcome after choosing it, in which the preference either exists or does not, by cases:
1. The preference exists:
a. If there’s an outcome in which the preference exists and is more satisfied, and all else is equal, it would have been irrational to have chosen this one (over it, and at all).
b. If there’s an outcome in which the preference exists and is less satisfied, and all else is equal, it would have been irrational to have chosen the other outcome (over this one, and at all).
c. If there’s an outcome in which the preference does not exist, and all else is equal, the preference itself does not tell us if either would have been irrational to have chosen.
2. The preference doesn’t exist:
a. If there’s an outcome in which the preference exists, regardless of its degree of satisfaction, and all else equal, the preference itself does not tell us if either would have been irrational to have chosen.
So, all else equal besides the existence or degree of satisfaction of the given preference, it’s always rational to choose an outcome in which the preference does not exist, but it’s irrational to choose an outcome in which the preference exists but is less satisfied than in another outcome.
(I made a similar argument in the thread starting here.)
I also think that antifrustrationism in some sense overrides interests less than symmetric views (not to exclude “preference-affecting” views or mixtures as options, though). Rather than satisfying your existing preferences, according to symmetric views, it can be better to create new preferences in you and satisfy them, against your wishes. This undermines the appeal of autonomy and subjectivity that preference consequentialism had in the first place. If, on the other hand, new preferences don’t add positive value, then they can’t compensate for the violation of preferences, including the violation of preferences to not have your preferences manipulated in certain ways.
Consider the following two options for interests within one individual:
A. Interest 1 exists and is fully satisfied
B. Interest 1 exists and is not fully satisfied, and interest 2 exists and is (fully) satisfied.
A symmetric view would sometimes choose B, so that the creation of interests can take priority over interests that would exist regardless. In particular, the proposed benefit comes from satisfying an interest that would not have existed in the alternative, so it seems like we’re overriding the interests the individual would have in A with a new interest, interest 2. For example, we make someone want something and satisfy that want, at the expense of their other interests.
On the other hand, consider:
A. Interest 1 exists and is partially unsatisfied
B. Interest 1 exists and is fully satisfied, and interest 2 exists and is partially unsatisfied.
In this case, antifrustrationism would sometimes choose A, so that the removal or avoidance of an otherwise unsatisfied interest can take priority over (further) satisfying an interest that would exist anyway. But in this case, if we choose A because of concerns for interest 2, at least interest 2 would exist in the alternative A, so the benefit comes from the avoidance of an interest that would have otherwise existed. In A, compared to B, I wouldn’t say we’re overriding interests, we’re dealing with an interest, interest 2, that would have existed otherwise.
Smith and Black’s “The morality of creating and eliminating duties” deals with duties rather than preferences, and argues that assigning positive value to duties and their satisfaction leads to perverse conclusions like the above with preferences, and they have a formal proof for this under certain conditions.
Some related writings, although not making the same point I am here:
Brian Tomasik’s “Does Negative Utilitarianism Override Individual Preferences?”
Simon Knutsson’s “What is the difference between weak negative and non-negative ethical views?” (On Center for Long-Term Risk’s website)
Toby Ord’s “Why I’m Not a Negative Utilitarian”
I also think this argument isn’t specific to preferences, but could be extended to any interests, values or normative standards that are necessarily held by individuals (or other objects), including basically everything people value (see here for a non-exhaustive list). See Johann Frick’s paper and thesis which defend the procreation asymmetry, and my other post here.
Then, if you extend these comparisons to satisfy the independence of irrelevant alternatives by stating that in comparisons of multiple choices in an option set, all permissible options are strictly better than all impermissible options regardless of option set, extending these rankings beyond the option set, the result is antifrustrationism. To show this, you can use the set of the following three options, which are identical except in the ways specified:
and since B is impermissible because of the presence of A, this means C>B, and so it’s always better for a preference to not exist than for it to exist and not be fully satisfied, all else equal.