The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Thu Feb 6, 2020
Howison Library, Moses Hall, 4–6 PM
Philosophy Colloquium
Johann Frick
Dilemmas, Luck, and the Two Faces of Morality

According to some philosophers, there are moral dilemmas: situations where, no matter how an agent chooses to act, her action will be morally wrong.⁠ According to some philosophers, there is moral outcome luck: how blameworthy an agent was for performing an action can depend on features of the action — namely how it turned out — that were at least partly beyond the agent’s control. In this paper, I argue that there is a connection between these seemingly disparate normative phenomena. I argue that there is a structural property of moral views, what I call “parochial evaluation”, which explains both why a moral view admits of moral luck and why it admits of moral dilemmas. This, in turn, allows me to offer a novel argument against the view that there are genuine moral dilemmas, as well as to defang the problem of moral outcome luck. The key that unlocks both problems, I argue, lies in differentiating between an agent- and a patient-centric mode of moral evaluation — what I call the “two faces” of morality.