Does Thomas Scanlon’s Theory of Blame Resolve the Problem Presented by Moral Luck?

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Title: Does Thomas Scanlon’s Theory of Blame Resolve the Problem Presented by Moral Luck?
Authors: Madigan, Courtney
Date: 2013-12-02
Abstract: Moral luck describes the peculiar process of appraisal that occurs when someone is praised or blamed for actions or traits stemming from factors beyond her control. The reason that this phenomenon is philosophically problematic – rather than say, psychologically interesting – is because it is both common and resistant to change. Although we tend to see morality as something that is immune to luck, we find ourselves unable to form moral judgments in the absence of it. The focus of this thesis is on Thomas Scanlon’s theory of blame and whether it successfully resolves luck’s apparent paradox. Contrary to our general moral intuitions, Scanlon argues that an agent can and should be held responsible for actions that reveal something about her (either good or bad), regardless of whether it is the result of factors under her control. Despite its many insights, Scanlon’s theory, I argue, neglects and confuses some of the more important features of impermissibility and blame. For this reason and others, Scanlon fails to resolve the problem presented by moral luck.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30258
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-766
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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