Luck's Mischief: Obligation and Blameworthiness on a Thread

ISBN : 9780190260774

Ishtiyaque Haji
376 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Feb 2016
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Something is subject to luck if it is beyond our control. In this book, Haji shows that luck detrimentally affects both moral obligation and moral responsibility. He argues that factors influencing the way we are, together with considerations that link motivation and ability to perform intentional actions, frequently preclude our being able to do otherwise. Since obligation requires that we can do otherwise, luck compromises the range of what is morally obligatory for us. This result, together with principles that conjoin responsibility and obligation, is then exploited to derive the further skeptical conclusion that behavior for which we are morally responsible is limited as well. Throughout these explorations, Haji makes extensive use of concrete cases to test the limits of how we should understand free will moral responsibility, blameworthiness, determinism, and luck itself.


1. Luck's Hijacking of Obligation and Responsibility
1.1. Luck's Threat to Obligation and Responsibility
1.2. Synopsis
2. Obligation and Alternative Possibilities
2.1. Luck
2.2. Obligation and Alternatives
2.3. Stage-Setting for Objections: Frankfurt Examples
3. Obligation Presupposes Alternatives: A Defense
3.1. Nelkin on a Novel Interpretation of OIC
3.2. An Argument from Frankfurt Examples
3.2.1. Frankfurt Examples and Kant's Law
3.2.2. Frankfurt Examples and Action
3.2.3. Frankfurt Examples and Specific versus General Abilities
3.2.4. Does Blameworthiness Require Impermissibility?
3.3. Truth and the Function of Ought Judgments
3.4. Graham on Kant's Law
3.5. Pereboom's Objections
4. Obligation under Threat
4.1. Frankfurt Examples, Luck, and Obligation
4.2. Principle Motivation/Ability
4.3. Diminished Obligation
4.4. Objections and Replies
4.5. Another Frankfurt Example
4.6. Obligation and Self-Control
5. Blameworthiness under Threat
5.1. Blameworthiness and Impermissibility
5.1.1. The Objective View
5.1.2. The Simple Subjective View
5.1.3. The Complex Subjective View
5.2. Respecting Subjective Views
5.2.1. Subjective Views Defended
5.2.2. Subjective Views and the Principle of Alternative Expectations
5.3. Diminished Blameworthiness
5.4. Changing Obligations, Blameworthiness, and Impermissibility
5.5. A Costly Way Out: Obligation and Blameworthiness Rescued
5.6. Semi-Compatibilism and Non-Moral Varieties of Blameworthiness
5.6.1. Semicompatibilism
5.6.2. Semicompatibilism's Domain
5.6.3. The Scope of Non-Moral Varieties of Blameworthiness
5.7. Teleological Theories, Obligation, and Blameworthiness
6. Ramifications
6.1 Character, Obligation, and Blameworthiness
6.2. On the Moral Aims of Education
6.3. Imperiled Aims
7. Some Thoughts on the Metaphysics of Free Will
7.1. Constrained Skepticism
7.2. Frankfurt Examples and Guidance Control
7.3. From the Frying Pan into the Fire: Frankfurt Examples Yet Again
7.4. The Traditional Dilemma
7.4.1. Determinism, Obligation, and Blameworthiness
7.4.2. Indeterminism, Obligation, and Blameworthiness
7.4.3. A Slight Digression: Compatibilism and Luck
7.5. Our Morally Messy World

About the author: 

Ish Haji is professor of philosophy at the University of Calgary. He has research interests in action theory, ethical theory, metaphysics, and philosophical psychology. His publications include Moral Appraisability (1998), Deontic Morality and Control (2002), Moral Responsibility, Authenticity, and Education (2008, with S. Cuypers), Freedom and Value (2009), and Incompatibilism's Allure (2009), and Reason's Debt to Freedom (2012).

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