Free Will, Self‐Creation, and the Paradox of Moral Luck

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):224-256 (2019)
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*As mentioned in Peter Coy's NYT essay "When Being Good Is Just a Matter of Being Lucky" (2023) ----- How is the problem of free will related to the problem of moral luck? In this essay, I answer that question and outline a new solution to the paradox of moral luck, the source-paradox solution. This solution both explains why the paradox arises and why moral luck does not exist. To make my case, I highlight a few key connections between the paradox of moral luck and two related problems, namely the problem of free will and determinism and the paradox of self-creation. Piecing together intuitions, arguments, and insights from recent work on each of these three problems, I argue that the type of control necessary for moral responsibility can only be had by someone who is a genuine source of his own actions, but the relevant notion of sourcehood admits no coherent characterization. If our commonsense view of moral responsibility is incoherent, it is unsurprising that our commitment to the existence of morally responsible agents commits us to some paradoxical things—e.g. to both the existence and impossibility of moral luck. For more information about this article, please write to gmail account: kristin.mickelson.42

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Kristin M. Mickelson
University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD)


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