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Philosophy E166: Ethical Theory Week Thirteen: Kant’s Groundwork: Chapter One.

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1 Philosophy E166: Ethical Theory Week Thirteen: Kant’s Groundwork: Chapter One

2 Tonight’s Agenda Mill’s justification for rule-utilitarianism Mill’s proof of utilitarianism in general Kant’s rejection of consequentialism in general, which entails rejecting utilitarianism

3 Review: Mill’s Response to Bentham in Chapters III & V of Utilitarianism Against Bentham’s psychological egoism Against Bentham’s narrow account of motivation Against Bentham’s act utilitarianism All three elements represent a much wider perspective than Bentham’s of the job (my term) of utilitarianism – the job of maximizing utility All three elements of Mill’s opposition to Bentham contribute to Mill’s rule-utilitarianism

4 The Motivation Problem in Utilitarianism Bentham seems almost entirely to have ignored the motivation problem: –Why would we be motivated to act according to the principle of utility? –Problem more difficult due to his psychological egoism –He does recognize a role for punishment – “external sanction,” as Mill calls it – and much of Principles is taken up with it What Bentham says won’t do So Mill has the problem of showing that acting on the basis of the Greatest Happiness Principle can be consistent with the way humans are motivated It obviously won’t do merely to hold that humans should be so motivated to act according to the principle of utility whether in fact they ever do

5 The Two Kinds of Motivation and the Role of “The Social Feelings of Mankind” in Chapter Three “External sanctions” Rewards Bentham’s punishments “Internal sanctions” conscience conscientiousness consciousness of duty The importance to both sorts of motivation of “the social feelings of mankind” (a) Equality (b) Cooperation (c) Sympathy

6 A Concern That a Utilitarian Should Address While cooperation does require common interests, there can be no cooperation without individual interests and thus the distinction between the interests of oneself and the interests of others. Cooperation is possible where interests overlap. But cooperation is different from servility, where one has an interest that coincides with interests others have only because others have those interests. Mill must somehow make the distinction. Consider these three cases.

7 Case One: Weak Self Case Jill always gives into Jack’s desires. They go camping if Jill wants to go camping, they go to the movies if Jill wants to go to the movies, they stay home if Jill wants to stay home. Jack doesn’t have contrary desires. He has no strong desires of his own. The utilitarian says that it’s right, all other things equal, for Jack to do want Jill wants. But since it would be fairer for the two to share better, alternating what they do, the utilitarian gets it wrong.

8 Case Two: Utility Monster Case Benny is a “utility monster” because of his personality: it takes a lot to satisfy him. He has a lot of interests and those who are with him quickly find themselves overwhelmed by his needs, his interests, his projects. Perhaps we can say that Benny is capable of more and better pleasure, because his life has more orientation toward the higher quality of pleasure and Benny is better able to attain it. The utilitarian says that it’s right that Benny’s interests should dominate, since pleasure is maximized in that way. But it would be fairer for Benny to cooperate with others more, taking into account their pleasures, even at the cost of some of his own.

9 Case Three: Low Cost Case If your pleasures, while having just the same quality as mine, come more cheaply, then given a fixed amount of money, and everything else equal, we maximize utility by always realizing your pleasures at the expense of mine. But that’s unfair, undermining the Principle of Utility.

10 Rawls’s Question about Act and Rule Utilitarianism On p. 258 of Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, in his first lecture on Mill, Rawls mentions “recent discussions as to whether Mill is an act utilitarian or a rule utilitarian or something else.” Rawls says that he will “touch on this question briefly in the next lecture.” He does not, at least he does not do so explicitly, so I want to tease out from what he says and from what Mill says what the facts are. I want to do this in order to set the stage for seeing what is distinctive, and what Rawls thinks to be distinctive, about Mill’s utilitarianism.

11 Looking First at Bentham Bentham is an act utilitarian (though he doesn’t use that phrase himself), since the principle of utility, as he sets it out, is that “every action whatsoever [is approved or disapproved] according to the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.” – Whether by an individual or a government. (Principles, ch. 1) That is, the principle of utility evaluates actions directly, rather than by their conformity to rules that maximize happiness. Problem of government not that of selecting rules.

12 The Act Utilitarian’s Analysis of The Candy Problem The Candy Problem: You promise to give a little girl some candy. On your way to give her the candy you meet two older children who would love some candy. But since you have spent all your money, you only have two choices: to give them the candy or to give it to the little girl you promised. What should you do? Bentham’s Principle of Utility says you should break the promise, assuming equal enjoyment of candy among the three children (and that each gets equal pleasure even if the candy is divided), so long as the little girl’s displeasure doesn’t outweigh the two older children’s pleasure, since “every action” is approved or disapproved “according to the tendency … to augment or diminish … happiness.” Notice that according to Bentham’s principle you should give the candy to the two older children rather than the little girl, even if it would create only a small amount more of pleasure to do so. Importantly, all that’s relevant about your promise is the result of your promising – namely, the displeasure you create.

13 Is Mill an Act Utilitarian? Mill likewise allows – sometimes even requires – the breaking of rules for greater utility. Toward the conclusion of Utilitarianism, he writes that “to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner” (Utilitarianism, V: ¶37).

14 Mill On Rules However, this passage is a bit misleading. Here, Mill is describing cases where exceptions are possible, and of course exceptions are not possible unless there are rules for them to be exceptions to. Mill suggests that rules give us quick and easy guidance about what to do in particular cases. More importantly, they provide a standpoint for constructing a standard for the “whole sentient creation” They also provide us with what he calls “secondary principles” as the basis of our notions of rights and of justice.

15 Mill’s Use of Rules in Responding to the “Lack of Time” Objection At the end of Chapter II of Utilitarianism, Mill responds to the objection that people don’t have the time to do all the calculation that the Principle of Utility requires (e.g., applying it by way of the Hedonic Calculus): –“Again, defenders of utility often find themselves called upon to reply to such objections as this—that there is not time, previous to action, for calculating and weighing the effects of any line of conduct on the general happiness. This is exactly as if any one were to say that it is impossible to guide our conduct by Christianity, because there is not time, on every occasion on which anything has to be done, to read through the Old and New Testaments. The answer to the objection is, that there has been ample time, namely, the whole past duration of the human species…. There is no difficulty in proving any ethical standard whatever to work ill, if we suppose universal idiocy to be conjoined with it…” (¶24). He takes this to be a purpose of the existence of moral rules.

16 Mill’s Defining the GHP as the “Rules and Principles” to Secure the “Manner of Existence” Mill: “According to the Greatest Happiness Principle, as above explained, the ultimate end … is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality…. This, being, according to the utilitarian opinion, the end of human action, is necessarily also the standard of morality; which may accordingly be defined, the rules and precepts for human conduct, by the observance of which an existence such as has been described might be, to the greatest extent possible, secured to all mankind; and not to them only, but, so far as the nature of things admits, to the whole sentient creation” (my emphasis; Utilitarianism, II: ¶10).

17 Mill on Moral Rules as “Secondary Principles” “It is a strange notion that the acknowledgment of a first principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones…. The proposition that happiness is the end and aim of morality, does not mean that no road ought to be laid down to that goal, or that persons going thither should not be advised to take one direction rather than another…. Whatever we adopt as the fundamental principle of morality, we require subordinate principles to apply it by: the impossibility of doing without them, being common to all systems, can afford no argument against any one in particular….” (Utilitarianism, II: ¶24.)

18 Mill on Exceptions to Rules “We are told than an utilitarian will be apt to make his own particular case an exception to moral rules, and, when under temptation, will see a utility in the breach of a rule, greater than he will see in its observance…. It is not the fault of any creed, but of the complicated nature of human affairs, that rules of conduct cannot be so framed as to require no exceptions, and that hardly any kind of action can safely be laid down as either always obligatory or always condemnable. There is no ethical creed which does not temper the rigidity of its laws, by giving a certain latitude, under the moral responsibility of the agent, for accommodation to peculiarities of circumstances.” (Utilitarianism, II: ¶25.)

19 Mill on Moral Rights and Justice, Independent of Utility Mill says this about rights: “When we call anything a person’s right, we mean that he has a valid claim on society to protect him in the possession of it, either by the force of law, or by that of education and opinion. If he has what we consider a sufficient claim …account, to have something guaranteed to him by society, we say that he has a right to it.” (V, ¶ 24.) Justice relies on moral rights: “… this feature …—a right in some person, correlative to the moral obligation—constitutes the specific difference between justice, and generosity or beneficence. Justice implies something which it is not only right to do … but which some individual person can claim from us as his moral right. No one has a moral right to our generosity or beneficence, because we are not morally bound to practise those virtues towards any given individual.” (V, ¶ 15.) Rawls seems to suggest that this suggests a rule utilitarian basis for having a right, which “does not depend on the utilities … in a particular case.” (Lectures, p. 275.)

20 One Kind of Rule Utilitarian One sort of utilitarian tries to justify actions by their conforming to a specific rule, the existence of which is itself justified by its maximizing pleasure or happiness. Suppose that one tried to justify keeping a specific promise that way: – One would justify it by its conforming to the moral rule that one should keep promises, where the justification of the rule itself is that the existence of and conformity to that rule produces more pleasure or happiness than alternatives to having that rule.

21 Two Ways to Justify Rules An alternative way to justify rules seems closer to Mill’s justification of moral rights at Utilitarianism V: ¶ 25: – “To have a right, then, is, I conceive, to have something which society ought to defend me in the possession of. If the objector goes on to ask why it ought, I can give him no other reason than general utility.” One might try to justify the rules in one of two ways: – one by one, or – one might try to justify the rules as a whole and “in the long run.”

22 Another Kind of Rule Utilitarian, Justifying Rules “in the Long Run” At the outset of Chapter V, he writes: “The powerful sentiment … which that word [“justice”] recalls with a rapidity and certainty resembling an instinct [has] seemed to the majority of thinkers to point to an inherent quality in things; to show that the Just must have an existence in Nature as something absolute—generically distinct from every variety of the Expedient, and, in idea, opposed to it, though (as is commonly acknowledged) never, in the long run, disjoined from it” (my emphasis). Rawls writes this way: – “In specifying the rights of justice there is no apparent reference to aggregate social well-being. When Mill identifies the essentials of the groundwork of our existence, he does not do so via the idea of maximizing total utility. He looks to individuals’ basic needs and to what constitutes the very framework of their existence.” (Lectures, p. 277.)

23 Rawls’s Dilemma about Mill’s Account of Rights and Justice Rawls says at the top of p. 277 of Lectures that we can justify a legal right in two ways: – (1) by appeal to policy, and – (2) by appeal to moral rights. These seem to be different ways. – The example of price supports – nobody has a right to price supports, even though they might be justifiable by appeal to the general good. Mill, Rawls says, seems to be committed to a two-part criterion for identifying the “basic rights of political and social justice.” We look to “the essentials of human being, to the groundwork of our existence.” – We look to “those general rules the enforcement of which is … productive of social utility in the aggregative sense” How, Rawls asks (on p. 278) do we get the two parts (1) and (2) “always … to converge”?

24 The Appeal to Utility in On Liberty: “The Permanent Interests of Man” Likewise, in On Liberty, we find the defense of the Principle of Liberty in general, the liberty of thought and discussion in particular, and the principle of individuality. Our interest in each of these reflects at least three things: – Our modern secular era, which sees the decline of monarchical and ecclesiastical power but the rise, because of an increase in democracy, of “tyranny of the majority” (as Rawls observes, Tocqueville’s term but also Mill’s concern). – Our conception of human nature, and in particular, aspects of human personality such as what Rawls calls the “principle of dignity” and “the desire to be in unity with others.” – Our capacity, Mill thought, to change human psychology through education and the advance of civilization. The justification of these principles, as with the principles of justice, must be grounded “in utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being” (Troyer, p. 159)

25 Mill’s Defense of the Principle of Utility Mill argues in Chapter IV of Utilitarianism that the Principle of Utility cannot be given the ordinary kind of defense, since the principle involves ultimate aims or goals (he calls them “ends”) and “questions of ultimate ends do not admit of proof, in the ordinary acceptation of the term” ( ¶1).

26 The Comparison of Desirability to Visibility and Audibility He nevertheless offers an argument that is supposed to amount to proofs, in some sense of that term. First, he makes a comparison to visibility and audibility (three paragraph): “The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it: and so of the other sources of our experience.” “In like manner,” he writes, “I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable, is that people do actually desire it. If the end which the utilitarian doctrine proposes to itself were not, in theory and in practice, acknowledged to be an end, nothing could ever convince any person that it was so.” Notice that there already is some trouble here, since while to be visible or audible is to capable of being seen or heard, to be desirable isn’t to capable of being desired – rather, to be desirable is to be worthy of being desired.

27 The Nonproof Proof of the Principle The argument appears in the third paragraph of Chapter Four: “No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness. This, however, being a fact, we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require, that happiness is a good: that each person's happiness is a good to that person, and the general happiness, therefore, a good to the aggregate of all persons.”

28 Two Interpretations of the Proof Here the idea seems simply to be captured by this single - premise argument: (1) Each person's happiness is a good to that person (2) Therefore, the general happiness is a good to the aggregate of all persons. My objection: Either the argument is empty or it’s unproven.

29 Interpretation One: Empty Interpretation One: Suppose that what Mill means is that since each person aims for his or her happiness & society is made up of a number of persons, then the collective of society aims for the happiness of its members. This is true even if each person is selfish and only looks after himself or herself. (Consider the parallel: Each person’s sound is audible to that person; therefore, the general sound is audible to the aggregate of persons.) This inference is empty, since on this interpretation, the conclusion of the argument is either a restatement of the premise of the argument or else at least something that isn’t yet the Principle of Utility, since it merely makes reference to approval, disapproval.

30 Interpretation Two: Unproven Interpretation Two: An alternative interpretation of the conclusion reads it as meaning this: that each person has as his or her aim the general happiness of society. This is what the Principle of Utility requires, and it is not empty, since it is not just a restatement of the premise, but it’s also not proven by this argument. The mere fact each person wants the happiness of that person does not imply that each person wants the happiness of everybody else. As Mill himself says, only under special conditions – education and widespread sympathy – is that remotely plausible. I will return to this.

31 Blackburn’s Parody of Mill’s Proof In Section 12 of his book, Simon Blackburn parodies Mill’s argument: “This is another of those cases where the argument is so bad that the conclusion not only fails to follow, but actually seems to contradict the starting point. It is like arguing that since each person ties just his or her own shoelaces, everyone ties everyone’s shoelaces. But alas, except in a world one one person, if each person ties just his or her own shoelaces, nobody ties everyone’s shoelaces.”

32 Everyone’s Tying His Shoes, but Not Everyone’s Tying Everyone’s Shoes

33 Blackburn’s Proviso Blackburn continues with this proviso: “Similarly, if we each desire what is pleasant to ourselves, then nobody desires what is pleasant to others, unless the pleasure of others is somehow an equal object of pleasure to each of us. This would be a world of indiscriminate universal sympathy: a nice world, but not quite the world we live in. People typically desire that they themselves get an enjoyment more than they desire that someone else gets it.”

34 Blackburn Misses Mill’s Point Of course, this is just Mill’s point, although his argument fails to express the sort of justification for it he perhaps intends. Each person’s happiness will overlap with that of others only as much as it does; it’s unclear whether Mill believed that the argument proved overlap. He never states that it proves the Principle of Utility. Mill himself says that only under special conditions described in Chapter Three of Utilitarianism – education, cooperation and widespread sympathy – is the conclusion remotely plausible. In Chapter Five, in connection with our interest in justice, Mill discusses our common interest in security (“Our notion, therefore, of the claim we have on our fellow-creatures to join in making safe for us the very groundwork of our existence, gathers feelings round it so much more intense than those concerned in any of the more common cases of utility, that the difference in degree (as is often the case in psychology) becomes a real difference in kind”) and other “essentials of human well-being.”

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36 Kant’s Biography vs. Hume’s Instructive to compare Kant with Hume – polar opposites Hume was very precocious—he started the Treatise as a teenager Kant didn’t write his great works until he was well into his fifties They came from different backgrounds Hume’s family was fairly well-to-do Kant came from what we might now call a working-class home

37 Kant vs. Hume on Skepticism They also differed dramatically in their philosophical views Hume was a skeptic Kant had a very different view. – he believed in God (though he was not exactly a dogmatist about it) – his picture of causation was much closer to our commonsense realist thoughts about it than was Hume’s

38 Kant vs. Hume on Ethics Their ethical systems were very different as well Hume is a utilitarian of a sort Kant is decidedly anti-utilitarian – He never mentions utilitarianism as a doctrine since he pre-dates Bentham – But he explicitly rejects consequentialism – But it is important to note that it is not clear whether he knew in any detail of Hume’s views on moral philosophy

39 Kant’s Admiration for Hume Despite those differences, Kant had the highest admiration for Hume, and he expressed his feelings in a letter he wrote to Herder in 1768 Rawls reproduced a part of the letter and commented on it in Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy

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41 Reading Groundwork, Chapter One We will focus tonight on paragraphs 1-11 Par. 1-3 of Chapter 1: The Good Will Par. 4-7 of Chapter 1: The Function of Reason Par. 8-9 of Chapter 1: The Concept of Duty Par of Chapter 1: The Motive of Duty

42 The Famous First Sentence 1st sentence of ¶1: ― “It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except a good will.”‖ The differences between Kant and Hume are thus evident in the very first sentence of the first chapter of the Groundwork A utilitarian, of course, would object A utilitarian like Bentham or Mill would say that the only thing that is good without qualification – intrinsically good – is pleasure, not the good will

43 The Good of the Good Will vs. the Good of Other Good Things: Examples In ¶1, K goes on to defend the 1 st sentence by contrasting the good of the good will with the good of other sorts of things – (1) talents of the minds (he lists as examples intelligence, wit, judgment) – (2) qualities of temperament (courage, resolution, and constancy of purpose) – (3) gifts of fortune (power, wealth, honor, health, happiness)

44 ¶2: The Aristotelian Virtues ¶2: Kant mentions (4) the Aristotelian virtues of moderation, self-control, sober reflection They‘re not only good in many respects, but they seem to constitute the inner worth of a person Yet they are not “properly described as good without qualification (however unconditionally they have been commended by the ancients)”‖ These virtues, says Kant, can become bad in the absence of a good will Scoundrel’s coolness makes him – Dangerous – Abominable

45 Two Contrasts 1. By contrast with the good will, which is good without qualification, the above goods are sometimes bad, says Kant – thus, they are not good without qualification. 2. They are good only with one qualification, and that is what makes them good if they are goodall – That qualification is that they must be employed with the good will; otherwise, they may be hurtful

46 Happiness Even something like happiness is not good without qualification For Mill, happiness plays a central role, but for Kant it plays a lesser role For Kant, happiness, when a good will is not present, leads to boldness and goes astray On Kant’s view, one has to be worthy of being happy for happiness to be good And only a good will guarantees that kind of worthiness

47 The Notion of “the Will” The will can be contrasted with character (cf. the 2 nd sentence of ¶1) Character seems something broader and more constant than the will (volition) There‘s an active quality to the will Also, the will is obviously intentional, but “the will” and “intention” are obviously not interchangeable

48 Anti-Consequentialism In ¶3, Kant steps back and remarks on the good will the good will is good through its willing alone With (1)-(4), they are good when they are good not because of the sorts of consequences they lead to Kant is an anti-consequentialist The moral worth of an action isn’t dependent on consequences Moral worth is tied to the good will Even if you aren’t able to carry out your intentions in some circumstances, there would be no difference in the moral worth of your action when compared to someone who is successful in what he does, provided that you both have a good will

49 Kant on morality and bad luck: “by some special disfavor of destiny” (Groundwork, Chapter 1, 3 rd par., Paton translation, p. 62)

50 Does hurtfulness subtract from good will’s value? But this raises a question: Does hurtfulness subtract from good will’s value? Suppose good people do bad things and have a good will in doing some of those bad things, that is, they do not mean to do all of them. Do the bad things somehow detract from the goodness of their will in doing them? Given the reasons he employs for the cases he does provide, Kant‘s answer seems to be “no” Even hurtfulness does not subtract from the value of a good will, since the goodness of the good will is independent of its consequences Examples of lying seem to illustrate Kant‘s answer being no

51 Does Usefulness Add? Just as hurtfulness does not subtract, so too usefulness does not add either Its usefulness would be merely, as it were, the setting which enables us to handle it better in our ordinary dealings or to attract the attention of those not yet sufficiently expert‖ Its usefulness does not enable us to commend it to experts or to determine its value

52 Paton’s Suggestion H.J. Paton, on p. 17, points out that Kant is not suggesting that the good will does not aim at results A good will that, for instance, helps people in need aims at good results, i.e., the benefit of those in need The good of willing is distinct from any good intended or achieved The former is some further good, once again, entirely independent of the latter

53 Kant & Hume We see here another similarity (also a difference) with Hume Hume also thought that virtue is independent of consequences For Hume, a person with a virtuous character can be viewed as a good utility producer So, his character will create admiration in us even if he isn’t able to accomplish great things We admire his virtue independently of whether it actually does lead to good things. With Kant, there’s no mention of accomplishing good things. What makes us consider a person morally worthy is just that he has a good will – consequences do not play a role at all

54 A Challenge to Kant What if we have two people, one of whom has a bad will through no (apparent) fault of his own (his circumstances or genes have left him with a bad character, say), and another who is of good character, but who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth – Is the latter really more morally worthy than the former? A potential response: if the woman with the good character acts in good ways just because she is inclined to do so, then her actions still won’t be morally worthy. They have to be the product of a good will – i.e., done from duty. In this way, she might be no more morally worthy than the man born without a good character.

55 Sam Harris in his Free Will on Luck, Success and the Self-made Man

56 Kant’s Idea Kant’s idea: a will is morally praiseworthy whether or not it accomplishes something In “Moral Luck” Nagel claims the point applies equally to the will’s moral blameworthiness Nagel illustrates Kant’s idea with a reckless driver who hits a pedestrian – depends on the pedestrian’s chance presence For Kant, irrelevant the pedestrian was there by bad luck – only the driver’s will counts

57 Sam Harris vs. Kant Harris’s hard-determinist ideas: – bad luck he’s there – a chance event – all moral success or failure is the product of good or bad luck over which an agent has no control Kant’s libertarianism: – Kant can agree it’s bad luck the pedestrian is there but deny that such circumstances play any role in the driver’s blameworthiness – Kant carves out a libertarian region of self-control

58 Moral Luck Bernard Williams coined the phrase “moral luck” – said he meant it as an “oxymoron” – An oxymoron combines contradictory terms for effect but isn’t a contradiction – like “living dead” – Perhaps it’s paradoxical, though – “There is something in our conception of morality, as Tom Nagel agreed, that arouses opposition to the idea that moral responsibility or moral merit or moral blame should be subject to luck.”

59 Nagel’s Definition of “Moral luck” “Where a significant aspect of what someone does depends on factors beyond his control, yet we continue to treat him in that respect as an object of moral judgment, it can be called moral luck.” “The view that moral luck is paradoxical is not a mistake, ethical or logical, but a perception of one of the ways in which the intuitively acceptable conditions of moral judgment threaten to undermine it all.”

60 Nagel’s Concentration Camp Example Nagel’s intends to show a case where an agent is can be blamed though he lacks control over historical contingencies without which the events he’s blamed for cannot occur Reservation: there’s no obvious case of luck here – most people who left for Argentina could not ordinarily look back and claim it luck that they didn’t stay and become camp guards

61 Nagel Differs from Both Harris & Kant Both Harris and Kant are “incompatibilists,” we might say, about the relation between luck and moral responsibility Kant would have called moral responsibility independent of luck – it’s in the heart independent of life’s contingencies Harris says it’s not – thus, no responsibility Nagel’s “compatibilism”: they coexist but paradoxically since we cannot get rid of either

62 Four Kinds of Moral Luck Nagel: “four ways in which the natural objects of moral assessment are disturbingly subject to luck” – Constitutive luck – the kind of person you are, inclinations, capacities, temperament – Circumstantial luck – problems & situations – Resultant luck – in the way things turn out – Causal luck – “how one is determined by antecedent circumstances”

63 Examples Constitutive luck is illustrated by Harris’s psychopath cases – where it is – bad luck that the psychopath is that way – Nagel still thinks we are assessed for how we are like Circumstantial luck – concentration camp case Resultant luck – the case of the driver and the pedestrian

64 Causal Luck and Free Will Causal luck for Nagel raises the problem of free will and determinism In Hard Luck, Neil Levy, like Harris, argues causal luck robs us of free will since we aren’t in control of causal antecedents of our actions Harris gives scientific arguments but they seem to me to be irrelevant – we don’t need science to discover this Nagel sees this as paradoxical – it robs us not just of free will but of moral responsibility We will return to Kant on free will in the last class


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