Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame
Responsibility & Luck will be available for sale in early October 2013. To receive announcements about it, as well as weekly updates on Philosophy in Action, subscribe to Philosophy in Action's Newsletter.
About the Book
Does the pervasive influence of luck in life mean that people cannot be held responsible for their choices? Do people lack the control required to justify moral praise and blame?
In his famous article “Moral Luck,” philosopher Thomas Nagel casts doubt on our ordinary moral judgments of persons. He claims that we intuitively accept that moral responsibility requires control, yet we praise and blame people for their actions, the outcomes of those actions, and their characters—even though shaped by forces beyond their control, i.e., by luck. This is the “problem of moral luck.”
Philosopher Diana Hsieh argues that this attack on moral judgment rests on a faulty view of control, as well as other errors. By developing Aristotle’s theory of moral responsibility, Hsieh explains the sources and limits of a person’s responsibility for what he does, what he produces, and who he is. Ultimately, she shows that moral judgments are not undermined by luck.
In addition, this book explores the nature of moral agency and free will, the purpose of moral judgment, causation in tort and criminal law, the process of character development, and more.
About the Author
Diana Hsieh received her Ph.D. in philosophy in 2009 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She now focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. Her radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, can be heard via live stream or as a podcast. Past shows and other work can be found at PhilosophyInAction.com.
The cover and interior of the book was designed by Tori Press of Red Queen Design Studio.