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A Shelter from Luck: The Morality System Reconstructed

In András Szigeti & Matthew Talbert (eds.), Morality and Agency: Themes from Bernard Williams. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 182-209 (forthcoming)

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  1. The Ethical Project.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Harvard University Press.
    Instead of conceiving ethical commands as divine revelations or as the discoveries of brilliant thinkers, we should see our ethical practices as evolving over tens of thousands of years, as members of our species have worked out how to live together and prosper. Here, Kitcher elaborates his radical vision of this millennia-long ethical project.
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  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume - 1751 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Introduction to the work David Hume described as the best of his many writings.
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • In Defense of Moral Luck: Why Luck Often Affects Praiseworthiness and Blameworthiness.Robert J. Hartman - 2017 - Routledge.
    There is a contradiction in our ideas about moral responsibility. In one strand of our thinking, we believe that a person can become more blameworthy by luck. Consider some examples in order to make that idea concrete. Two reckless drivers manage their vehicles in the same way, and one but not the other kills a pedestrian. Two corrupt judges would each freely take a bribe if one were offered. By luck of the courthouse draw, only one judge is offered a (...)
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  • A Wittgenstein Dictionary.Hans Johann Glock - 1996 - Blackwell.
    This lucid and accessible dictionary presents technical terms that Wittgenstein introduced into philosophical debate or transformed substantially, and also topics to which he made a substantial contribution. Hans-Johann Glock places Wittgenstein's ideas in their historical context, and indicates their impact on his contemporaries as well as their relevance to current debates. The entries delineate Wittgenstein's lines of argument on particular issues, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and shed light on fundamental exegetical controversies. The dictionary entries are prefaced by a ‘Sketch (...)
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  • Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
    We tend to suppose that the ancient Greeks had primitive ideas of the self, of responsibility, freedom, and shame, and that now humanity has advanced from these to a more refined moral consciousness. Bernard Williams's original and radical book questions this picture of Western history. While we are in many ways different from the Greeks, Williams claims that the differences are not to be traced to a shift in these basic conceptions of ethical life. We are more like the ancients (...)
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  • Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy.Bernard Williams - 2002 - Princeton University Press.
    What does it mean to be truthful? What role does truth play in our lives? What do we lose if we reject truthfulness? No philosopher is better suited to answer these questions than Bernard Williams. Writing with his characteristic combination of passion and elegant simplicity, he explores the value of truth and finds it to be both less and more than we might imagine.Modern culture exhibits two attitudes toward truth: suspicion of being deceived and skepticism that objective truth exists at (...)
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  • Morality: An Introduction to Ethics.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Bernard Williams's remarkable essay on morality confronts the problems of writing moral philosophy, and offers a stimulating alternative to more systematic accounts which seem nevertheless to have left all the important issues somewhere off the page. Williams explains, analyses and distinguishes a number of key positions, from the purely amoral to notions of subjective or relative morality, testing their coherence before going on to explore the nature of 'goodness' in relation to responsibilities and choice, roles, standards, and human nature. The (...)
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  • Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Arthur Owen Williams - 1985 - London: Fontana.
    By the time of his death in 2003, Bernard Williams was one of the greatest philosophers of his generation. Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy is not only widely acknowledged to be his most important book, but also hailed a contemporary classic of moral philosophy. Presenting a sustained critique of moral theory from Kant onwards, Williams reorients ethical theory towards ‘truth, truthfulness and the meaning of an individual life’. He explores and reflects upon the most difficult problems in contemporary philosophy (...)
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  • Action, Knowledge, and Will.John Hyman - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    John Hyman explores central problems in philosophy of action and the theory of knowledge, and connects these areas of enquiry in a new way. His approach to the dimensions of human action culminates in an original analysis of the relation between knowledge and rational behaviour, which provides the foundation for a new theory of knowledge itself.
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  • A Wittgenstein Dictionary.Hans-Johann Glock - 1996 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    This lucid and accessible dictionary presents technical terms that Wittgenstein introduced into philosophical debate or transformed substantially, and also topics to which he made a substantial contribution. Hans-Johann Glock places Wittgenstein's ideas in their relevance to current debates. The entries delineate Wittgenstein's lines of argument on particular issues, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and shed light on fundamental exegetical controversies. The dictionary entries are prefaced by a 'Sketch of a Intellectual Biography', which links the basic themes of the early and (...)
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  • Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2011 - Oxford University Press UK.
    The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck (...)
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  • Who Knew?: Responsiblity Without Awareness.George Sher - 2009 - Oxford University Press USA.
    To be responsible for their acts, agents must both perform those acts voluntarily and in some sense know what they are doing. Of these requirements, the voluntariness condition has been much discussed, but the epistemic condition has received far less attention. In Who Knew? George Sher seeks to rectify that imbalance. The book is divided in two halves, the first of which criticizes a popular but inadequate way of understanding the epistemic condition, while the second seeks to develop a more (...)
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  • The Gay Science.Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - 1910 - Dover Publications.
    "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him." This is the book in which Nietzsche put forth his boldest declaration. It is also his most personal. Essential reading for students of philosophy, history, and literature, it features some of Nietzsche's most important discussions of art, morality, knowledge, and, ultimately, truth.
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  • On the Genealogy of Morality.Friedrich Nietzsche - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most influential thinkers of the past 150 years and On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) is his most important work on ethics and politics. A polemical contribution to moral and political theory, it offers a critique of moral values and traces the historical evolution of concepts such as guilt, conscience, responsibility, law and justice. This is a revised and updated edition of one of the most successful volumes to appear in Cambridge Texts in the (...)
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  • Internal Reasons and the Obscurity of Blame.Bernard Williams - 1989 - In William J. Prior (ed.), Reason and Moral Judgment, Logos, vol. 10. Santa Clara University.
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  • Moral Luck: Optional, Not Brute.Michael Otsuka - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):373-388.
    'Moral luck' refers to the phenomenon whereby one's degree of blameworthiness for what one has done varies on account of factors beyond one's control. Applying concepts of Dworkin's from the domain of distributive justice, I draw a distinction between 'option moral luck,' which is that to which one has exposed oneself as the result of one's voluntary choices, and 'brute moral luck,' which is that which is unchosen and unavoidable. I argue that option moral luck is not ruled out on (...)
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  • What's the Point of Blame? A Paradigm Based Explanation.Miranda Fricker - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):165-183.
    When we hope to explain and perhaps vindicate a practice that is internally diverse, philosophy faces a methodological challenge. Such subject matters are likely to have explanatorily basic features that are not necessary conditions. This prompts a move away from analysis to some other kind of philosophical explanation. This paper proposes a paradigm based explanation of one such subject matter: blame. First, a paradigm form of blame is identified—‘Communicative Blame’—where this is understood as a candidate for an explanatorily basic form (...)
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  • Kantian Fairness.George Sher - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):179–192.
    It is widely thought to be unfair to hold people responsible, or to blame or punish them, for wrongful acts or omissions that are beyond their control. Because this principle is often taken to support incompatibilism, and because it has led many to deny the possibility of moral luck, we might expect its normative underpinnings to have been carefully scrutinized. However, surprisingly, they have not. In the current paper, I will try to fill this gap by first reconstructing, and then (...)
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  • An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume & Tom L. Beauchamp - 1998 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 190 (2):230-231.
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  • Whence the Demand for Ethical Theory?Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):135–46.
    Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a home for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...)
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  • The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1361-1379.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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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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  • Williams’s Pragmatic Genealogy and Self-Effacing Functionality.Matthieu Queloz - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18:1-20.
    In Truth and Truthfulness, Bernard Williams sought to defend the value of truth by giving a vindicatory genealogy revealing its instrumental value. But what separates Williams’s instrumental vindication from the indirect utilitarianism of which he was a critic? And how can genealogy vindicate anything, let alone something which, as Williams says of the concept of truth, does not have a history? In this paper, I propose to resolve these puzzles by reading Williams as a type of pragmatist and his genealogy (...)
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  • Nietzsche as a Critic of Genealogical Debunking: Making Room for Naturalism Without Subversion.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - 2019 - The Monist 102 (3):277-297.
    This paper argues that Nietzsche is a critic of just the kind of genealogical debunking he is popularly associated with. We begin by showing that interpretations of Nietzsche which see him as engaging in genealogical debunking turn him into an advocate of nihilism, for on his own premises, any truthful genealogical inquiry into our values is going to uncover what most of his contemporaries deem objectionable origins and thus license global genealogical debunking. To escape nihilism and make room for naturalism (...)
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  • Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Apeiron 27 (1):45-76.
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  • The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross - 1930 - International Journal of Ethics 41 (3):343-351.
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  • Ethics.Bernard Williams - 1998 - In A. C. Grayling (ed.), Philosophy 1: A Guide Through the Subject. Oxford University Press.
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  • Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline.Bernard Williams - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (4):477-496.
    What can--and what can't--philosophy do? What are its ethical risks--and its possible rewards? How does it differ from science? In Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline , Bernard Williams addresses these questions and presents a striking vision of philosophy as fundamentally different from science in its aims and methods even though there is still in philosophy "something that counts as getting it right." Written with his distinctive combination of rigor, imagination, depth, and humanism, the book amply demonstrates why Williams was one (...)
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  • The right and the good.W. Ross - 1932 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 39 (2):11-12.
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  • The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross - 1931 - Mind 40 (159):341-354.
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  • Pagan Justice and Christian Love.Bernard Williams - 1993 - Apeiron 26 (3/4):195 - 207.
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  • The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Philosophy 6 (22):236-240.
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  • Egoism and Altruism.Bernard A. O. Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press.
    A discussion of egoism and altruism as related both to ethical theory and moral psychology. Williams considers and rejects various arguments for and against the existence of egoistic motives and the rationality of someone motivated by self-interest. He ultimately attempts to give a more Humean defense of altruism, as opposed to the more Kantian defenses found in Thomas Nagel, for example.
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  • How to Avoid Maximizing Expected Utility.Bradley Monton - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    The lesson to be learned from the paradoxical St. Petersburg game and Pascal’s Mugging is that there are situations where expected utility maximizers will needlessly end up poor and on death’s door, and hence we should not be expected utility maximizers. Instead, when it comes to decision-making, for possibilities that have very small probabilities of occurring, we should discount those probabilities down to zero, regardless of the utilities associated with those possibilities.
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  • Replies.[author unknown] - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
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  • Two Orders of Things: Wittgenstein on Reasons and Causes.Matthieu Queloz - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (3):369-97.
    This paper situates Wittgenstein in what is known as the causalism/anti-causalism debate in the philosophy of mind and action and reconstructs his arguments to the effect that reasons are not a species of causes. On the one hand, the paper aims to reinvigorate the question of what these arguments are by offering a historical sketch of the debate showing that Wittgenstein's arguments were overshadowed by those of the people he influenced, and that he came to be seen as an anti-causalist (...)
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  • Nietzsche Contra Wagner.Friedrich Nietzsche - unknown
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  • Free Will Pessimism.Paul Russell - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 4. New York, NY, USA: pp. 93-120..
    The immediate aim of this paper is to articulate the essential features of an alternative compatibilist position, one that is responsive to sources of resistance to the compatibilist program based on considerations of fate and luck. The approach taken relies on distinguishing carefully between issues of skepticism and pessimism as they arise in this context. A compatibilism that is properly responsive to concerns about fate and luck is committed to what I describe as free will pessimism, which is to be (...)
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  • Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1994 - Philosophy 69 (270):507-509.
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  • Voluntary Acts and Responsible Agents.Bernard Williams - 1990 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 10 (1):1-10.
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  • The Idea of Equality.Williams Bernard - 1973 - In . Cambridge University Press.
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  • Moral Luck.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Critica 17 (51):101-105.
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  • How Free Does the Free Will Need To Be?Bernard Williams - 1995 - In Making Sense of Humanity. Cambridge University Press.
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  • A Mistrustful Animal.Bernard Williams - 2009 - In Alex Voorhoeve (ed.), Conversations on Ethics. Oxford University Press.
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