Brute luck and responsibility

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Abstract
The concept of agent-responsibility for an outcome (that is, of the outcome reflecting the autonomous choice of the agent) is central to both ethics and political philosophy. The concept, however, remains radically under-explored. In particular, the issue of partial responsibility for an outcome needs further development. I propose an account of partial responsibility based on partial causal contribution. Agents who choose autonomously in full knowledge of the consequences are agent-responsible, I claim, for the shift in the objective probability of the outcome in question that her choice induces. Thus, agents will typically be only partially agent-responsible (that is, for a shift of less than 100 percent) for any given outcome. The model has an implication that is generally rejected: that agents who purchase lottery tickets and win are agent-responsible for only part of the winnings
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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2009-01-28

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