Nagel moral luck. Moral luck 2019-02-01

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What is Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

Suppose that this picture of what responsibility judgments involve is on the right track and that, as stated so far, constitutes common ground between Nagel and his opponent. Resultant luck is luck in the way things turn out. Nagel defends motivated desire theory about the motivation of moral action. Thinking reflectively about ethics from this standpoint, one must take every other agent's standpoint on value as seriously as one's own, since one's own perspective is just a subjective take on an inter-subjective whole; one's personal set of reasons is thus swamped by the objective reasons of all others. They have a developmental history unlike anything in the world of atoms and molecules. However, the unlucky driver himself should voluntarily accept the notion of the special connection between his actions and the unfortunate consequences, and assign more blame to himself than the lucky driver should. It is only when those influences make it the case that either normative competence or situational aptness-the two constituents of control in my account-are absent or impaired that they acquire the status of exemptions or excuses.


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Steinblog: Nagel on Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

If a bystander were asked to morally evaluate Drivers A and B, there is very good reason to expect him or her to say that Driver A is due more moral blame than Driver B. If the law is more complex, this tool will be in higher demand. Comparable to the views of the nineteenth century moral philosopher , Nagel believes that one needs to conceive of one's good as an impersonal good and one's reasons as objective reasons. It turns out, however, that the idea that results should not be taken into account in determining punishment is in direct tension with a variety of criminal laws, including, for example, the differential punishment accorded attempted murder and murder in the United States. What undermines the sense of freedom doesn't automatically undermine agency. On the other hand, coercion, duress, and ignorance excuse because they show that something in the agent's situation actively interfered with the deployment of his responsibility-relevant capacities coercion and duress or that his situation was such that it could not have been expected of him to be aware of the relevant considerations ignorance. Even if we concede that our will is causally influenced or even determined by past events, the responsibility-relevant control we have over our actions-rendered as the capacity to guide them in response to moral considerations-is not quite generally threatened.

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Moral Luck (summary and notes) Thomas Nagel

nagel moral luck

This bears directly on the mind-body problem. Circumstantial luck is luck in the circumstances in which one finds oneself. If we were in the unrealistic situation of knowing that both agents had exactly the same intentions, the same strength of commitment to their plans, and so on, then we would no longer be inclined to treat them differently. In effect, this argument is Nagel's argument in reverse. Once again, though, we might still be able to retain the idea that we are morally assessable for something, even if only for what we would have intended in various situations. That is to say that a man may do everything that is within his power to do an action A and still do not-A.

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Notes on Thomas Nagel’s “Moral Luck”

nagel moral luck

There are three general approaches to responding to the problem of moral luck: i to deny that there is moral luck despite appearances, ii to accept the existence of moral luck while rejecting or restricting the Control Principle, or iii to argue that it is simply incoherent to accept or deny the existence of some type s of moral luck, so that with respect to at least the relevant types of moral luck, the problem of moral luck does not arise. If the condition of control is consistently applied, it threatens to erode most of the moral assessments we find it natural to make. Nagel thinks that philosophers over-impressed by the paradigm of the kind of objective understanding represented by modern science tend to produce that are falsely objectifying in precisely this kind of way. His central point is that luck can affect the scope of one's responsibility, but never its degree-which only varies according to actions one freely undertakes or would have freely undertaken. Nor is it possible simply to dissolve our unanalyzed sense of autonomy and responsibility. He received his PhD in philosophy from in 1963. The Problem of Moral Luck Given the notion of equating moral responsibility with voluntary action, however, moral luck becomes a problem.


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What is Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

Causation and Responsibility: An Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009. Nagel uses as an example a truck driver who accidentally runs over a child. But in the Postscript, Williams makes a distinction between morality and ethics that allows him to deny the existence of moral luck, thus preserving a certain integrity for morality. The search warrant system is in place to protect our right to privacy, and it is funny how it can potentially make things more complex by allowing individuals to keep illegal items in their domiciles. The rationalist position, stated simply, is that equal fault deserves equal blame. Because the only difference between them is attributable to factors beyond their control.

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Thomas Nagel on Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

Are we justified in holding agent A morally responsible for the act now? And if one's action is caused by one's own efforts and intentions, then one's action is not lucky in the sense of being a fluke or accident. He recommends a gradual move to much more demanding conceptions of equality, motivated by the special nature of political responsibility. Aristotle treats luck as one of many potential causes of happiness, in the same way that nature, intelligence, or divine providence are Johnson 259. Gauguin was not morally lucky that history has appraised him as a worthy painter. Moral luck just is a fact of life, some people are born into worse situations than others and some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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What is Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

Further, if a person acts on one of these very character traits over which he lacks control by, say, running away instead of helping to save his child, and we correctly blame him for so acting, then we also have a case of constitutive moral luck. On luck and tort law, see Waldron 1995 , and for a wide-ranging discussion of moral luck and the law, Enoch 2010. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. The good will is such that it acts according to principles productive of what it is right to do. This is because each of the four types of luck severs in its own way that connection, in much the same way that traditional excusing conditions like coercion or ignorance do.

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Thomas Nagel on Moral Luck

nagel moral luck

Wolf believes that the outsiders should blame the lucky and unlucky drivers equally despite their intuition that the two of them should not feel equally bad i. It is Nagel's view, then, that something about the very nature of moral judgment is what gets the moral luck paradox going. If one is not responsible for these, then one is not deserving of them. This argument essentially retains the rationalist claim that equal fault is equally deserving of blame while also retaining the consequentialist claim that different outcomes should result in moral agents feeling and acting differently. At this point I appeal to Randolph Clarke's eminently sane-sounding strategy for dealing with the responsibility skeptic: The fact that certain proposed principles of responsibility nevertheless convict so many of our attributions of error is reason to suspect those principles. In this case, we can handle the examples of moral luck and describe the different punishments accordingly.


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Moral Luck: Nagel and Aristotle

nagel moral luck

These are difficult questions for those who would draw a line at resultant luck. See also Pereboom who argues that such an account is coherent, but not true. This reasoning can be extended still further to cover the case of constitutive and even one kind of causal luck. But many take a mixed approach; that is, they embrace one approach for one kind of luck and another approach for another kind of luck, or address only a certain type s of luck, while remaining silent about the other types. My answer to this question is firstly that in the legal system we base punishment on the outcome of the situation, so since in the case of agent A a man was murdered and in the case of agent B a man was not murdered, we punish agent A for the murder of her husband. Questions about what we are to say about action and responsibility merely attempt after the fact to express those feelings — feelings of impotence, of imbalance, and of affective detachment from other people.

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