The Moral Irrelevance of Constitutive Luck
Mihailis E. Diamantis, The Moral Irrelevance of Constitutive Luck, 86 Erkenntnis (2021, Forthcoming)
34 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 23 Sep 2021
Date Written: July 3, 2021
One’s constitution—whether one is generous or miserly, temperate or intemperate, kind or mean, etc.—is beyond one’s control in significant respects. Yet one’s constitution affects how one acts. And how one acts affects one’s moral standing. The counterintuitive inference—the so-called problem of constitutive moral luck—is that one’s moral standing is, to some significant extent, beyond one’s control. This article grants the premises but resists the inference. It argues that one’s constitution should have no net impact on one’s moral standing. While a bad constitution lowers the chance that one will act morally, it offers significant gains to moral standing should that chance materialize. A good constitution increases one’s chance of performing good acts but for correspondingly more modest gains. This effect should smooth out, and possibly eliminate, the expected impact of constitution on moral standing.
Keywords: Moral Luck, Constitutive Luck, Moral Psychology, Game Theory
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