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Thomas Nagel's Theory Of Moral Luck

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PHIL 205: PAPER
Thomas Nagel 's notion of moral luck poses an ethical dilemma concerning our human capacities to act morally. If we don’t have complete control over our actions, how can we be morally judged? This challenges a number of philosophers that have considered the ways in which we can universally detect when an act is morally right and when is an act morally wrong. Is there truly a unique and single way in which we can determinate what is moral, or are we purposefully ignoring mediating factors for the sake of justice? Hence, comes Nagel arguing about his concept of the condition of control which states that one cannot be morally assessed for what is not under one 's control. He indicates that some of our harmful actions cannot
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If the condition of control were to be true, then it would contradict many moral assessments we find natural to make, such as Kant 's notion of ethics which emphasizes that an act is morally right if and only if it is in accordance to duty and that it is founded on a good will. Needless to say, a Kantian would outright deny the importance of the condition of control because it contradicts their spectrum of how should morality be determined. Kant focuses on the importance of a good will, meaning that someone who has the volition to act morally is someone who is following reason and has the intentions to do what they consider to be right. Comparing this to Nagel 's condition of control would eventually contradict Kant 's notion of the principle of volition because according to constitutive luck, the way in which we decide our intentions or inclinations is not completely under our control. Thus, this would deny the capacities of a good will to act in accordance with duty because of numerous psychological factors that may influence the way we define what is right or wrong. Kant clearly stated that good or bad fortune should never influence our moral judgements since the good will is a good in itself which is not influenced by an unfortunate fate and is much higher than the sums of all the inclinations that might have led to it (Kant 393). By this sense, the condition of control proposes no relevance in terms of Kantian ethics because he would claim that it would be incoherent to base all morality into mere luck. Nagel criticized this view by saying that it does not reconsider the possibilities of involuntary acts of people that may lead to unjust moral assessments. Nagel continued by arguing that different states of character that are determined by constitute luck would be directly blamed in accordance to Kantian ethics because they condemn such qualities that are most