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Moral Luck Defended

Noûs 48 (4):683-698 (2014)

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  1. Blameworthiness and Causal Outcomes.Matthew Talbert - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    It is widely held that whether a person is morally responsible for an outcome partly depends on whether certain causal relations obtain between that person and the outcome. This paper argues that, regardless of whether the preceding claim about moral responsibility is true, moral blameworthiness is independent of such causal considerations. This conclusion is motivated by considering cases from Carolina Sartorio and Sara Bernstein. The causal structures of these cases are complex. Sartorio and Bernstein believe that reaching conclusions about moral (...)
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  • Molinism's kryptonite: Counterfactuals and circumstantial luck.Andre Leo Rusavuk - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to Molinism, logically prior to his creative decree, God knows via middle knowledge the truth value of the counterfactuals or conditionals of creaturely freedom (CFs) and thus what any possible person would do in any given circumstance. Critics of Molinism have pointed out that the Molinist God gets lucky that the CFs allow him to actualize either a world of his liking or even a good-enough world at all. In this paper, I advance and strengthen the popular critique in (...)
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  • Epigenetics and Responsibility: Ethical Perspectives.Emma Moormann, Anna Smajdor & Daniela Cutas (eds.) - 2024 - Bristol University Press.
    EPUB and EPDF available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence. We tend to hold people responsible for their choices, but not for what they can’t control: their nature, genes or biological makeup. This thought-provoking collection redefines the boundaries of moral responsibility. It shows how epigenetics reveals connections between our genetic make-up and our environment. The essays challenge established notions of human nature and the nature/nurture divide and suggest a shift in focus from individual to collective responsibility. Uncovering the links between our (...)
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  • Forgiveness and Moral Luck.Daniel Telech - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
    Proceeding from the assumptions that forgiveness is at least sometimes elective and that it changes the normative relations between victims and wrongdoers, this paper argues that our practices of forgiveness are subject to an overlooked form of moral luck, forgiveness-luck. Forgiveness-luck is introduced via reflection on ‘differential forgiveness’, wherein of two equally culpable and remorseful agents, one is forgiven and the other not, and both justifiably so. In being forgiven—at least if forgiveness is normatively significant— one undergoes a positive alteration (...)
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  • Moral Luck and Unfair Blame.Martin Sand & Michael Klenk - 2023 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57 (4):701-717.
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  • Moral Principles: A Challenge for Deniers of Moral Luck.Anna Nyman - 2024 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 11 (7).
    On a common characterization, moral luck occurs when factors beyond agents’ control affect their moral responsibility. The existence of moral luck is widely contested, however. In this paper, I present a new challenge for deniers of moral luck. It seems that some factors beyond agents’ control—such as moral principles about blame- and praiseworthiness—clearly affect moral responsibility. Thus, moral luck deniers face a dialectical burden that has so far gone unnoticed. They must either point to a relevant difference between factors like (...)
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  • Resultant moral luck and the scope of moral responsibility.Matthias Rolffs - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2355-2376.
    Resultant moral luck occurs whenever aspects of an agent’s moral responsibility are affected by luck pertaining to the outcomes of their actions. Many authors reject the existence of moral luck in this sense, but they do so in different ways. Michael Zimmerman argues that resultant luck affects the scope of moral responsibility, but not its degree. That is, it affects what agents are responsible for, but not how responsible they are. Andrew Khoury takes a more resolute approach, arguing that both (...)
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  • Risk and Responsibility in Context.Adriana Placani & Stearns Broadhead (eds.) - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume bridges contemporary philosophical conceptions of risk and responsibility and offers an extensive examination of the topic. It shows that risk and responsibility combine in ways that give rise to new philosophical questions and problems. Philosophical interest in the relationship between risk and responsibility continues to rise, due in no small part due to environmental crises, emerging technologies, legal developments, and new medical advances. Despite such interest, scholars are just now working out how to conceive of the links between (...)
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  • Compensation and Moral Luck.Nora Heinzelmann - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):251-264.
    In some vicarious cases of compensation, an agent seems obligated to compensate for a harm they did not inflict. This raises the problem that obligations for compensation may arise out of circumstantial luck. That is, an agent may owe compensation for a harm that was outside their control. Addressing this issue, I identify five conditions for compensation from the literature: causal engagement, proxy, ill-gotten gains, constitution, and affiliation. I argue that only two of them specify genuine and irreducible grounds for (...)
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  • A Defence of the Control Principle.Martin Sand - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):765-775.
    The nexus of the moral luck debate is the control principle, which says that people are responsible only for things within their control. In this paper, I will first argue that the control principle should be restrained to blameworthiness, because responsibility is too wide a concept to square with control. Many deniers of moral luck appeal to the intuitiveness of the control principle. Defenders of moral luck do not share this intuition and demand a stronger defence of the control principle. (...)
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  • Moral luck and moral performance.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):1017-1028.
    The aims of this paper are fourfold. The first aim is to characterize two distinct forms of circumstantial moral luck and illustrate how they are implicitly recognized in pre-theoretical moral thought. The second aim is to identify a significant difference between the ways in which these two kinds of circumstantial luck are morally relevant. The third aim is to show how the acceptance of circumstantial moral luck relates to the acceptance of resultant moral luck. The fourth aim is to defuse (...)
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  • Kant Does Not Deny Resultant Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):136-150.
    It is almost unanimously accepted that Kant denies resultant moral luck—that is, he denies that the lucky consequence of a person’s action can affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Philosophers often point to the famous good will passage at the beginning of the Groundwork to justify this claim. I argue, however, that this passage does not support Kant’s denial of resultant moral luck. Subsequently, I argue that Kant allows agents to be morally responsible for certain kinds of lucky (...)
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  • Moral Luck as Moral Lack of Control.Mark B. Anderson - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):5-29.
    When Thomas Nagel originally coined the expression “moral luck,” he used the term “luck” to mean lack of control. This use was a matter of stipulation, as Nagel’s target had little to do with luck itself, but the question of how control is related to moral responsibility. Since then, we have seen several analyses of the concept of luck itself, and recent contributors to the moral luck literature have often assumed that any serious contribution to the moral luck debate must (...)
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  • Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Kinds of moral luck are differentiated by the source of lack of control such as the results of her actions, the circumstances in which she finds herself, and the way in which she is constituted. Many philosophers accept the existence of some of these kinds of moral luck but not others, because, in their view, the existence of only some of them would (...)
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  • Responsibility Beyond Belief: The Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility.Christopher Michael Cloos - 2018 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I argue for a new conception of the epistemic condition on moral responsibility.
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  • The objects of moral responsibility.Andrew C. Khoury - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1357-1381.
    It typically taken for granted that agents can be morally responsible for such things as, for example, the death of the victim and the capture of the murderer in the sense that one may be blameworthy or praiseworthy for such things. The primary task of a theory of moral responsibility, it is thought, is to specify the appropriate relationship one must stand to such things in order to be morally responsible for them. I argue that this common approach is problematic (...)
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  • Happiness in prison.Sabrina Intelisano - unknown
    In this thesis I am going to explore the relationship between happiness and imprisonment. I will discuss three theories of happiness - hedonism, life satisfaction theories and emotional states theories. I will argue that the main problem of these theories is that they take happiness to consist only of psychological states. Because of this, I will turn my attention towards those theories that evaluate happiness in terms of how well life is going for the person who is living it. I (...)
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  • Accepting Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck. New York: Routledge.
    I argue that certain kinds of luck can partially determine an agent’s praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. To make this view clearer, consider some examples. Two identical agents drive recklessly around a curb, and one but not the other kills a pedestrian. Two identical corrupt judges would freely take a bribe if one were offered. Only one judge is offered a bribe, and so only one judge takes a bribe. Put in terms of these examples, I argue that the killer driver and (...)
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  • Against Luck-Free Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2845-2865.
    Every account of moral responsibility has conditions that distinguish between the consequences, actions, or traits that warrant praise or blame and those that do not. One intuitive condition is that praiseworthiness and blameworthiness cannot be affected by luck, that is, by factors beyond the agent’s control. Several philosophers build their accounts of moral responsibility on this luck-free condition, and we may call their views Luck-Free Moral Responsibility (LFMR). I offer moral and metaphysical arguments against LFMR. First, I maintain that considerations (...)
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  • The epistemic analysis of luck.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2015 - Episteme 12 (3):319-334.
    Duncan Pritchard has argued that luck is fundamentally a modal notion: an event is lucky when it occurs in the actual world, but does not occur in more than half of the relevant nearby possible worlds. Jennifer Lackey has provided counterexamples to accounts which, like Pritchard’s, only allow for the existence of improbable lucky events. Neil Levy has responded to Lackey by offering a modal account of luck which attempts to respect the intuition that some lucky events occur in more (...)
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  • Moral responsibility.Andrew Eshleman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    When a person performs or fails to perform a morally significant action, we sometimes think that a particular kind of response is warranted. Praise and blame are perhaps the most obvious forms this reaction might take. For example, one who encounters a car accident may be regarded as worthy of praise for having saved a child from inside the burning car, or alternatively, one may be regarded as worthy of blame for not having used one's mobile phone to call for (...)
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  • Luck, Epigenetics and the Worth of Collective Agents.Luca Chiapperino & Martin Sand - 2024 - In Emma Moormann, Anna Smajdor & Daniela Cutas (eds.), Epigenetics and Responsibility: Ethical Perspectives. Bristol University Press. pp. 57-77.
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  • Moral Luck and Unfair Blame.Martin Sand & Michael Klenk - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control affect her blameworthiness. Several scholars deny the existence of moral luck by distinguishing judging blameworthy from blame-related practices. Luck does not affect an agent’s blameworthiness because morality is conceptually fair, but it can affect the appropriate degree of blame for that agent. While separatism resolves the paradox of moral luck, we aim to show it that it needs amendment, because it is unfair to treat two equally blameworthy people unequally. We argue (...)
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  • Interpersonal Moral Luck and Normative Entanglement.Daniel Story - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6:601-616.
    I introduce an underdiscussed type of moral luck, which I call interpersonal moral luck. Interpersonal moral luck characteristically occurs when the actions of other moral agents, qua morally evaluable actions, affect an agent’s moral status in a way that is outside of that agent’s capacity to control. I suggest that interpersonal moral luck is common in collective contexts involving shared responsibility and has interesting distinctive features. I also suggest that many philosophers are already committed to its existence. I then argue (...)
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  • Thinking Outside the (Traditional) Boxes of Moral Luck.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):7-23.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Moral Luck and the Possibility of Agential Disjunctivism.Jennifer Ryan Lockhart & Thomas Lockhart - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):308-332.
    Most presentations of the problem of moral luck invoke the notion of control, but little has been said about what control amounts to. We propose a necessary condition on an agent's having been in control of performing an action: that the agent's effort to perform the action ensured that the agent performed the action. The difficulty of satisfying this condition leads many on both sides of the moral luck debate to conclude that much of what we do is not within (...)
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  • Moral Luck.Dana K. Nelkin - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Did Alexander Fleming Deserve the Nobel Prize?Martin Sand - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (2):899-919.
    Penicillin is a serendipitous discovery par excellence. But, what does this say about Alexander Fleming’s praiseworthiness? Clearly, Fleming would not have received the Nobel Prize, had not a mould accidently entered his laboratory. This seems paradoxical, since it was beyond his control. The present article will first discuss Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin as an example of moral luck in science and technology and critically assess some common responses to this problem. Second, the Control Principle that says that people are not (...)
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  • Did Alexander Fleming Deserve the Nobel Prize?Martin Sand - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (2):899-919.
    Penicillin is a serendipitous discovery par excellence. But, what does this say about Alexander Fleming’s praiseworthiness? Clearly, Fleming would not have received the Nobel Prize, had not a mould accidently entered his laboratory. This seems paradoxical, since it was beyond his control. The present article will first discuss Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin as an example of moral luck in science and technology and critically assess some common responses to this problem. Second, the Control Principle that says that people are not (...)
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  • Don’t make a fetish of faults: a vindication of moral luck.Stefan Https://Orcidorg Riedener - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):693-711.
    Is it appropriate to blame people unequally if the only difference between them was a matter of luck? Suppose Alice would drive recklessly if she could, Belen drove recklessly but didn’t harm anyone, and Cleo drove recklessly and killed a child. Luck-advocates emphasize that in real life we do blame such agents very unequally. Luck-skeptics counter that people aren’t responsible for factors beyond their control, or beyond their quality of will. I’ll defend a somewhat reconciliatory view. I’ll concede to the (...)
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  • A problem for moral luck.Steven D. Hales - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2385-2403.
    The present paper poses a new problem for moral luck. Defenders of moral luck uncritically rely on a broader theory of luck known as the control theory or the lack of control theory. However, there are are two other analyses of luck in the literature that dominate discussion in epistemology, namely the probability and modal theories. However, moral luck is nonexistent under the probability and modal accounts, but the control theory cannot explain epistemic luck. While some have posited that “luck” (...)
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  • Moral Luck and the Problem of the Innocent Attacker.Daniel Statman - 2014 - Ratio 28 (1):97-111.
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the relation between the right to self-defense against an innocent attacker and the notion of moral luck. It argues that those who accept the existence of such a right rely on the assumption that mere agency makes a significant moral difference – which is precisely the assumption that underlies the view held by believers in moral luck. Those who believe in the right to self-defense against innocent attackers are thus committed to the (...)
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  • The Attributionist Approach to Moral Luck.Matthew Talbert - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):24-41.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Putting the Luck Back Into Moral Luck.Neil Levy - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):59-74.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • The Immorality of Punishment: A Reply to Levy.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (1):113-122.
    It is gratifying to me, though perhaps it will be disappointing to you, to discover that Neil Levy and I agree on much of what to say about the morality of punishment. His summary of the contents of The Immorality of Punishment is both generous and, for the most part, accurate, and the concerns that he raises are certainly reasonable. In what follows, I will address what I take to be the most significant of these concerns.IAs Levy notes, in the (...)
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  • Azar y ética: responsabilidad y suerte moral.Felipe Curcó Cobos - 2021 - Signos Filosóficos 23 (46):60-89.
    Resumen En 1976, Nagel y Williams presentaron -en una reunión de la Aristotelian Society- dos célebres textos dirigidos a exhibir el desafío que el azar y la fortuna representan para la imputación kantiana de responsabilidad moral. Desde entonces han proliferado cientos de artículos centrados en analizar este dilema. Dicho debate, no obstante, rara vez es situado al interior del análisis de las implausibles y falsas premisas que dan lugar a él. En este trabajo reconstruyo las coordenadas centrales en las que (...)
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