Moral Luck Summary. Questions about our attitudes to death, sexual behaviour, social inequality, war and political power are shown to lead to more obviously philosophical problems about personal identity, consciousness, freedom, and value. All Rights Reserved. Start studying Nagel: Moral Luck. Moreover, when they are confronted others’ misfortunes, they don’t necessarily see poor luck a justification for assistance. Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. The problem is essentially one about ethical judgment, and he begins it with an illustration from Kant. Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Imagining what it must be like to be poor, for instance, we import presumptions about available resources, talents and opportunities — encouraging, say, the homeless to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and to just get a job, any job, as if getting a job is as simple as filling out an application. An Abstract of a Dissertation Excerpt from Essay : Moral Luck" by admitting defeat: he informs the reader that he will be assessing "a fundamental problem about moral responsibility to which we possess no satisfactory solution" (450). (2) It’s irrational to praise or blame you for what is not wholly within your control: “Ought implies can” (Kant). If they believe their predecessors didn’t care enough about the future, they could claim the obligations of intergenerational justice weren’t met by their forebears. Both suggest that, given the choice, they would prefer to be white — although most people clearly have no choice at all. Moral Luck and the Unfairness of Morality. October 2015 “Kant believed that good or bad luck should influence neither our moral judgment of a person and his actions, nor his moral assessment of himself.” -Thomas Nagel Thomas Nagel, Professor of Philosophy at New York University developed the current philosophical idea of Moral luck. A reader reminded me that I once wrote a five part series on moral luck, starting with the this link. As mentioned, I’ve moved away from the subject of moral luck a little bit, but his summary is still accurate. A school bus driver swerves to avoid a dog crossing an icy road, loses control of his bus and runs into a tree. Thomas Nagel wrote the classic essay on moral luck and The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy gives a fantastic summary of the four categories he identified: resultant luck, circumstantial luck, constitutive luck, and causal luck. Sometimes the problem is thought to arise only if determinism is true, but this is not the case. We can hardly fathom the depth of our dependence on government, and pretend we are bold individualists instead. If we offer different moral assessments based upon the different outcome of their crashes, then we have a case of resultant moral luck. The Scope of the Problem. What Is a Summary of the Short Story "Luck" by Mark Twain? But in this video, Eddie Murphy’s dramatization the inequalities of racial prejudice concludes by satirically suggesting that blacks might have greater agency with regard to choice of race than previously imagined — exactly the hypothetical question that Louis CK also explores. Nagel classifies the various cases of moral luck as resultant, circumstantial, or constitutive luck—based on that which is affected by luck.9 In cases of resultant luck, a person no Thinking Outside the (Traditional) Boxes of Moral Luck. Repressed Feelings One kind of luck is luck … There’s plenty of real problems to concern ourselves with.”. It is discovered after the accident that the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit. He writes, “Prior to reflection it is intuitively plausible that people cannot be morally assessed for what is not their fault, or for what is due to factors beyond their control.” 1 We’ll call this principle, that how good one is cannot depend on factors beyond one’s control, the control principle . Little would be affirmed unless moral values possessed some special, indeed supreme, kind of dignity or importance. To put it in terms of Nagel’s categories of “moral luck,” we’re dealing with a case of circumstantial luck. In his essay Moral Luck, Thomas Nagel posits that the majority of our actions are in fact out of our control due to one of three types of luck: luck in the end result, luck of the circumstances, and constitutive luck. The story is about one Arthur Scoresby who is a man capable of tremendous acts of idiocy (stupid behaviour) but they all seem to be translated into moments of fortunate glories. If #2 occurred, it is unlikely that future generations will hold their predecessors accountable for what could have happened if something else didn’t provide salvation. The paradoxical conclusion is that the very condition lying at the heart of the concept of moral responsibility threatens its applicability. These are four di erent kinds of ‘moral luck.’ 2.1 Luck in how things turn out content locked. The problem is essentially one about ethical judgment, and he begins it with an illustration from Kant. How much are we morally responsible for things beyond our control? Can two people who make the same bad decision bear different levels of moral responsibility? Just because a person's feelings are vulnerable to luck, this does not entail that morality itself is vulnerable to luck. 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