Where does he come together with Plato? The Scope of the Problem. McDowell, , ‘Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives?’Google Scholar, 44 This is where the three dots of ellipsis come in the quotation above; the emphasis is mine. 39 Cf. This item is part of JSTOR collection III, vv. (This is not a contradiction, but it is a paradox.) Resultant luck is just luck about the way our actions turn out. Religion, Bk. 52 For further discussion of the tension between Kant's position and orthodox Christianity see Vossenkuhl, Wilhelm, ‘The Paradox in Kant's Rational Religion’, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 88 (1987–1988).Google Scholar. Abstract. 16 ‘Moral Luck’, 22, 39 and note 11. JSTOR®, the JSTOR logo, JPASS®, Artstor®, Reveal Digital™ and ITHAKA® are registered trademarks of ITHAKA. 36 Kant's own discussion of original sin occurs in Religion, Bk One, §III. Kant, , Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals (hereafter Groundwork), trans. (Everyone has the opportunity to be good). The discus sion as a whole is on 154 ff. 98, Issue. ©2000-2020 ITHAKA. In Paul's psychological model is famously rejected by Davidson, Donald in Part I of ‘How is Weakness of the Will Possible?’, in Essays on Actions and Events (Oxford University Press, 1980).Google Scholar. The editorial policy of the journal pursues the aims of the Institute: to promote the study of philosophy in all its branches: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, social and political philosophy and the philosophies of religion, science, history, language, mind and education. Morality is determined entirely by our actions. (Korsgaard, incidentally, whose focus in ‘Aristotle and Kant on the Source of Value’ is in fact this difference between them, thereby sees Kant as the one with the greater humanistic strain. (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 60 and 79–80Google Scholar; and Aristotle, , Nicomachean Ethics (hereafter NE), 1095a2–13, 1095a30–b13Google Scholar and Bk I, Ch. the Preface to Kant's Groundwork, esp. in this connection Sidgwick, Henry, The Methods of Ethics (London: Macmillan, 1907)Google Scholar, Bk I, Ch. II, §2. 40 Cf. and trans.) The idea that morality is immune from luck finds inspiration inKant: Thomas Nagel approvingly cites this passage in the opening of his 1979article, “Moral Luck.” Nagel’s article began as areply to Williams’ paper of the same name, and the two articlestogether articulated in a new and powerful way a challenge for anyonewishing to defend the Kantian idea that an important aspect ofmorality is immune from luck, or independent of what is outside of ourcontrol. 47 Cf. "peerReview": true, Nagel describes the paradox of moral luck as follows: A person can be morally responsible only for what he does; but what he does results from a great deal that he does not do; therefore he is not morally responsible for what he is and is not responsible for. If so, why? And see Aristotle, NE, Bk I, Ch. R. M. Hare makes much of the quoted passage in his discussion of ‘backsliding’ in Freedom and Reason (Oxford University Press, 1963)Google Scholar, §5.1. Request Permissions. 30 I am indebted here to Williams, , ELP, 174ff.Google Scholar I hope that what I say in this essay does something towards answering the (semi-rhetorical) question that Williams poses in note 2 of that discussion (221). 8 Groundwork, 62–64.Google Scholar See also Kant's, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone (hereafter Religion), trans. I shall use this translation for all subsequent quotations from the Bible. He is interested in ethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of law, and has written on Kant's moral theory and on the relation between virtues and moral rules. But Cooper, in Reason and Human Good in Aristotle, Ch. Some of the most interesting questions about Kant, and more particularly about his moral philosophy, arise when he is placed alongside the giants of antiquity. 14–25, to which we shall return. The best-known example is provided in Nagel's essay. 22 ‘On a Supposed Right to Lie From Altruistic Motives’, in Critique of Practical Reason and Other Writings in Moral Philosophy, Beck, Lewis White (ed. 57–59Google Scholar (though on 55 he writes, ‘[Moral philosophy] has to formulate its laws… for the will of man so far as affected by nature’). III of Groundwork; at the beginning of the Introduction to CPrR, and in the discussion of ‘Problem II’ on 28–30 of CPrR. Check out using a credit card or bank account with. 1–2, my emphasis. (The University of Chicago Press, 1949).Google Scholar. Another type of moral luck is one's circumstances. II, §2, argues that Aristotle can be interpreted in a much more Kantian way; cf. Kant believes that good will is the only thing that is inherently good, and therefore good will has intrinsic worth. Kant’s ethics commonly serves as a paradigmatic example of a theory that aims to insulate moral assessment from factors beyond the agent’s control. Morality, Moral Luck and Responsibility pp 114-134 | Cite as. Total loading time: 0.448 One, §III is very revealing in this respect. 37 For discussion see my ‘Aspects of the Infinite in Kant’. also in this connection the Aristotelian thought that one can become a morally bad person by repeatedly doing what is morally bad and getting into a habit; hence the importance of education (see NE, Bk II, Ch. See also on this issue Irwin, T. H., ‘Permanent Happiness: Aristotle and Solon’, in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3 (1985)Google Scholar, and Kenny, Anthony, ‘Aristotle on Moral Luck’ in Human Agency: Language, Duty and Value, Dancy, Jonathan, Moravcsik, J. M. E. and Taylor, C. C. W. (eds) (Stanford University Press, 1988).Google Scholar One of the bones of contention is the extent to which our own ‘most fundamental’ goodness is at the mercy of education (which is certainly beyond our control). 35 Returning again to the caveat at the end of section I, it is here that the question of a gap between what is Kantian and what is in Kant is most delicate. Plato, , Protagoras, 330c ff.Google Scholar. 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. Cooper, John M., Reason and Human Good in Aristotle (Harvard University Press, 1975), 87–88Google Scholar; and the work of McDowell, John, e.g. With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free. (Nagel 1979, p. 34) If you want a copy, email me at roberthartman122@gmail.com. Thus, just on this level, Kant's definition of morality and moral luck are at oddswith each other. Kant Does Not Deny Resultant Moral Luck. As quoted above, Kant thought that luck should not be the basis of judgement. ‘Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives?’, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supp. "comments": true, Kant's claim is not that people's circumstances seemto matter to their actions -- Kant's claim is that actions are moral only when they ari… See esp. } Immanuel Kant denies that there is moral luck. Is there such a thing as moral luck, i.e. Adams, Robert M., ‘Involuntary Sins’, in The Philosophical Review 94 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 18 See e.g. Cf. 1 Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Pure Reason (hereafter CPuR), translated by Smith, Norman Kemp (London: Macmillan, 1933), A314/B370.Google Scholar The general discussion occupies Bk I, §1 of the ‘Transcendental Dialectic’. Consider Nazi followers and supporters in Hitler 's Germany. Cf. 58 (1984), 223.Google Scholar. 18–25, we see how important hope is for him too. 38 ‘The Disappearing “We”’, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supp. But, if the scenario above agent 2 still hit the kid since their action had good intent and in accordance with duty (because good intention=good … 32 I am grateful to members of the Stapleton Society at Liverpool University for drawing my attention to this point. 4 Cf. Such a radical conception of freedom is, so far as I know, nowhere explicitly embraced by Kant, though arguably it is implicit in CPuR; A538–541/B566–569; in CPuR, ‘Transcendental Doctrine of Method’, Ch. Kant denied the possibility of moral luck but Nagel created the idea of moral luck based on Kant’s opposition. )Google Scholar. Kant's Groundwork For the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant 2011) remains the classic attempt to "purify" moral judgment, locating it solely in the character of an agent's intentions and (apparently) divorcing such judgment from the contingent effects of our actions. Many of these journals are the leading academic publications in their fields and together they form one of the most valuable and comprehensive bodies of research available today. It publishes over 2,500 books a year for distribution in more than 200 countries. In regards to Constitutive luck, Kant would say that constitutive luck doesn’t exist for rational agents because if people are rational then moral action and knowledge is available to everyone according to Grounding. It is interesting to compare all of this with Aristotle's discussion of akrasia, and related issues, in NE, Bk III, Chs 1 and 5 and Bk VII, Chs 3 and 4: Aristotle recoils from the idea that acting wrongly means acting involuntarily. At first blush it seems easy to construct examples to support Williams's view; there is his own example on p. 180 of ELP. There is limited discussion of Kant in the debate on moral luck. 10; Bk II, Chs 1, 2 and 4; and Bk X, Chs 8 and 9. Instead, it's a law that we, as rational beings, must impose on ourselves. "openAccess": "0", Morality, Moral Luck and Responsibility. Is being at odds an objection? Although Kant does not advocate for the control intuition, his theory is compatible with it, since Kant thinks that unlucky consequences of an action do not make an action bad so long as the action was done for the right reasons. Cf. These thoughts do sometimes mitigate our responses; but they do not entirely undermine them. 10 See e.g. See also The Critique of Judgement (hereafter CJ), translated by Meredith, James Creed (Oxford University Press, 1978), beginning of §86. (And see 38 for the point about ubiquity. Much of this essay is meant as a response to Williams's critique. Two philosophers with opposing viewpoints on the concept of Moral Luck were Nagel and Kant. We use cookies to distinguish you from other users and to provide you with a better experience on our websites. This use was a matter of stipulation, as Nagel’s target had little to do with luck itself, but the question of how control is related to moral responsibility. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. View all Google Scholar citations "subject": true, 1–7. Earlier, vv. As he has not sufficiently determined his concept, he has sometimes spoken… in opposition to his own intention. According to Williams: In his own discussion of Kant, Nagel also moves beyond resultant luck. © 1990 Royal Institute of Philosophy Cambridge Journals publishes over 250 peer-reviewed academic journals across a wide range of subject areas, in print and online. There may be important differences between NE and other ethical works of his: see Cooper, John M., ‘Aristotle on the Goods of Fortune’ in The Philosophical Review 94 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar The main Aristotelian references are in note 15 below. This is related to the earlier point about transcendence. Like Epictetus, Kant thinks that happiness is subjective. Moral luck can be constitutive, the kind of person that someone is. Nagel, , in ‘Moral Luck’, 26Google Scholar, explicitly rejects this kind of move. 51 Letter to the Romans, Ch. Abstract: It is almost unanimously accepted that Kant denies resultant moral luck— that is, he denies that the lucky consequence of a person’s action can affect how much praise or blame she deserves. 5 On the first two points see e.g. Cambridge University Press is committed by its charter to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible across the globe. See also Lear, Jonathan, Aristotle: The Desire to Understand (Cambridge University Press, 1988), 152 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See especially Nussbaum's The Fragility of Good ness and the articles by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel, both entitled ‘Moral Luck’, originally published together but now recast and appearing respectively in Moral Luck (Cambridge University Press, 1981)Google Scholar and Mortal Questions (Cambridge University Press, 1979).Google Scholar See also Andre, Judith, ‘Nagel, Williams and Moral Luck’, in Analysis 43 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lewis, David, ‘The Punishment That Leaves Something to Chance’, in Philosophy & Public Affairs 18 (1989)Google Scholar; and Richards, Norvin, ‘Luck and Desert’, in Mind 95 (1986).Google Scholar I am grateful to Stephen Everson and Sabina Lovibond for helpful discussions on this, and to the former for directing me to a number of references. Unlike Epictetus, Kant says that happiness has nothing to do with morality. Korsgaard, Christine M., ‘Aristotle and Kant on the Source of Value’, in Ethics 96 (1985–1986).Google Scholar. One type of objection is internal -- on a view's own criteria it fails due to incoherence, etc. "metricsAbstractViews": false, option. in this connection Strawson, P. F., ‘Freedom and Resentment’, in Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays (London: Methuen, 1974).Google Scholar Cf. Some examples will be described further on in this handout that should make this concept clearer. "clr": false, Cf. They were and are worthy of moral blame either for committing morally reprehensible deeds or for allowing them to occur without making efforts to oppose them. She may well be right. For more information, visit http://journals.cambridge.org. 7 For a good discussion of how it is that our ergon might be shared by other, non-human beings (gods, say) see Nagel, Thomas, ‘Aristotle on Eudaimonia’ in Rorty, Amélie Oksenberg (ed.) 43, Issue. of CPrR, Kant suggests that an irrational act is one where self-love has got the better of the agent. )Google Scholar. Kant believed that “the moral law”—the categorical imperative and everything it implies—was something that could only be discovered through reason. This is a project driven by a conception of ‘morality’ as equally available to everyone, at any time of their lives, regardless of past experiences, circumstances or even previous choices. 14 At least in NE. A Kantian View of Moral Luck - Volume 65 Issue 253 - A. W. Moore Texas Tech University. Kant on Virtue. Midwest Studies In Philosophy, Vol. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964)Google Scholar, ‘The Ethical Doctrine of Method’, §11. I'm not sure this is either of those, because this seems to be a disagreement about what morality is. 12 The whole question of the role of luck in morality has been the focus of much recent discussion. }, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100057624. Later in Paul's letter, Ch. "languageSwitch": true He would have said that actions would be criticized if they turned out bad. "lang": "en" 7. 24 See the passage from Kant's The Metaphysical Elements of Justice, translated by Ladd, J. 5 is concerned with utilitarianism. See Williams, , ELP, 174 ff.Google Scholar, 25 See Williams, , ‘Moral Luck’, 20.Google Scholar, 26 Cf. Contributors are expected to avoid all needless technicality. Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives? If you should have access and can't see this content please, Dialogue and Dialectic: Eight Hermeneutical Studies in Plato, The Coherence Theory of Truth: Realism, Anti-Realism, Idealism. for this article. 21 Cf. There is limited discussion of Kant in the debate on moral luck. But in fact it is not at all clear what ice this example cuts. CPuR, A316–317/B373–374. NE 1095b33–1096a2; Bk I, Ch. The moral luck paradox. ), 17 Cf. Cf. V, §1, and Allison, Henry E., ‘Morality and Freedom: Kant's Reciprocity Thesis’, in The Philosophical Review 95 (1986), esp. Walter E. Schaller. Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. 13 CPuR, ‘Transcendental Doctrine of Method’, Ch. (Indianapolis: TheBobbs-Merrill Co., 1965)Google Scholar, quoted by Nussbaum on 31 of The Fragility of Goodness. again CPuR, A551/B579, footnote.Google Scholar, 46 I try to say a little more about how hope fits in The Infinite (London: Routledge, 1990), 232–233.Google Scholar. Where does he diverge from each? Kantian Ethics, or deontology, still makes up a large group of contemporary literature on ethics. The Kantian position is, however, adopted by Adams, , in ‘Involuntary Sins’. However, in Lectures on Ethics, translated by Infield, Louis (New York: Harper & Row, 1963), 46–47Google Scholar, we find something more Aristotelian. When Thomas Nagel originally coined the expression “moral luck,” he used the term “luck” to mean lack of control. The clear upshot, however, is that Kant does not deny resultant moral luck. When he first outlines how he is using the term ‘Idea’ in the Critique of Pure Reason, he insists that he is using it in none other than its original Platonic sense; and he explains away certain discrepancies with the comment: It is by no means unusual… to find that we understand [an author] better than he has understood himself. Query parameters: { 6 See e.g. Williams, , ELP, 195.Google Scholar, 50 Kant, comments on this passage in Religion, 24–25Google Scholar. 1, p. 136. Having offered the case of the reckless drivers, he continues: It is true that thoughts such as ‘There but for the Grace of God go I’ occur to many of us in such cases. Kant effectively equates the ‘ought’ of moral obligation with the ‘ought’ of practical deliberation. Where with Aristotle? Now suppose (as I am sure has happened to you many times) that a homeless person asks for change or a dollar as you walk by them on the street. I am very grateful to Philip Turetzky not only for first suggesting to me how close Kant and Aristotle are but for many valuable conversations on these issues. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. II, vv. (On the idea that virtue is its own reward see Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, translated by Pears, D. F. and McGuinness, B. F. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961), 6.422. CrossRef; Google Scholar; Hartman, Robert J. Circumstantial moral luck concerns the surroundings of the moral agent. To see exactly how the challenge arises, let us begin with … To access this article, please, Access everything in the JPASS collection, Download up to 10 article PDFs to save and keep, Download up to 120 article PDFs to save and keep. But there is much greater emphasis on it in the introductory essay, ‘The Ethical Significance of Kant's Religion’, by John R. Silber, than there is in Kant himself. "hasAccess": "0", Keywords Immanuel Kant moral luck moral responsibility good will moral character: Categories Control and Responsibility in Meta-Ethics. It is also related, in a similar way, to another point often made in this context: that whereas Kant tries to attain moral self-understanding 33 Williams, Bernard urges (non-Kantian) scepticism about whether it is, in ‘Ethical Consistency’, in Problems of the Self (Cambridge University Press, 1973), 179CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Start studying Nagel: Moral Luck. Feature Flags: { Access supplemental materials and multimedia. Nagel, , ‘Moral Luck’, 29Google Scholar; and Andre, , ‘Nagel, Williams and Moral Luck’, 205.Google Scholar, 19 For these distinctions, and for discussion of them, see Nagel, , ‘Moral Luck’Google Scholar, and Williams, , ‘Moral Luck’.Google Scholar, 20 Cf. Now consider Nagel’s article on “Moral Luck”. NOTE: I will self-archive this paper after the embargo period ends on September 2021. Philosophy Search for more papers by this author. 30 January 2009. 23 I can point already to Religion, 35, and CPuR, A551/B579, footnote. It was not something imposed on us from without. All Rights Reserved. 8.Google Scholar On the third point cf. View all Google Scholar citations for this article. For Kant a central tenant of his moral theory is to hold that we are noumenally free, which results in the thought that morality is immune to luck. Moral luck occurs whenever praise or blame is apportioned to someone for an action or its consequences even when, on closer inspection, it is clear that the action or its consequences were largely outside their control.
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