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Hard Luck How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility

by Neil (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Australia, and Oxford Centre for Neuroethics) Levy

Hard Luck How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility Synopsis

The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck than is compatibilism. But compatibilist accounts of luck are themselves vulnerable to a powerful luck objection: historical compatibilisms cannot satisfactorily explain how agents can take responsibility for their constitutive luck; non-historical compatibilisms run into insurmountable difficulties with the epistemic condition on control over action. Levy argues that because epistemic conditions on control are so demanding that they are rarely satisfied, agents are not blameworthy for performing actions that they take to be best in a given situation. It follows that if there are any actions for which agents are responsible, they are akratic actions; but even these are unacceptably subject to luck. Levy goes on to discuss recent non-historical compatibilisms, and argues that they do not offer a viable alternative to control-based compatibilisms. He suggests that luck undermines our freedom and moral responsibility no matter whether determinism is true or not.

Hard Luck How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility Press Reviews

All in all, Hard Luck is good philosophy: informed, clear and controversial. * Brian Jonathan Garrett, Philosophy in Review, (2013), no. 3 * [an] impressively wide-ranging book ... a no-frills and honest engagement with the issues by a creative philosopher, and it deserves to be read. * Neal A. Tognazzini, Australasian Journal of Philosophy * Hard Luck is important and challenging. Some of the arguments it directs at varieties of compatibilism, especially those concerning control, should generate much useful discussion. And Levy brings empirical research to bear fruitfully on issues like the effects of unconscious attitudes. * Steven Sverdlik, Mind *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780199601387
Publication date: 23rd June 2011
Author: Neil (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Australia, and Oxford Centre for Neuroethics) Levy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 238 pages
Categories: Philosophy: epistemology & theory of knowledge, Philosophy: metaphysics & ontology, Ethics & moral philosophy,

About Neil (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Australia, and Oxford Centre for Neuroethics) Levy

Neil Levy is Head of Neuroethics at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes and Director of Research at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. He is the author of five previous books and many articles, on a wide range of topics including applied ethics, free will and moral responsibility, philosophical psychology, and philosophy of mind. He divides his time between Melbourne, Australia, and Oxford, England.

More About Neil (Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Australia, and Oxford Centre for Neuroethics) Levy

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