Thu Feb 6, 2020
Howison Library, Moses Hall, 4–6 PM
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.