Free Will and Moral Luck

In Joseph Keim Campbell, Kristin M. Mickelson & V. Alan White (eds.), A Companion to Free Will. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 378-392 (2022)
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Philosophers often consider problems of free will and moral luck in isolation from one another, but both are about control and moral responsibility. One problem of free will concerns the difficult task of specifying the kind of control over our actions that is necessary and sufficient to act freely. One problem of moral luck refers to the puzzling task of explaining whether and how people can be morally responsible for actions permeated by factors beyond their control. This chapter explicates and assesses skeptical, compatibilist, and libertarian approaches to moral luck. First, I argue that what makes the above problems of free will and moral luck distinct is largely their emphasis on different kinds of luck. Second, I describe and evaluate skeptical arguments from constitutive and circumstantial luck that it is impossible to act freely. Third, I explicate and assess various support and implication relationships between various kinds of compatibilism and libertarianism, on the one hand, and causal, constitutive, circumstantial, and resultant moral luck, on the other.

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Robert J. Hartman
Ohio Northern University


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