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A stit Logic Analysis of Morally Lucky and Legally Lucky Action Outcomes

By Jan Broersen


Moral luck is the phenomenon that agents are not always held accountable for performance of a choice that under normal circumstances is likely to result in a state that is considered bad, but where due to some unexpected interaction the bad outcome does not obtain. We can also speak of ‘moral misfortune’ in the mirror situation where an agent chooses the good thing but the outcome is bad. This paper studies formalizations of moral and legal luck (and moral and legal misfortune). The three ingredients essential to modelling luck of these two different kinds are (1) indeterminacy of action effects, (2) determination on the part of the acting agent, (3) the possibility of evaluation of acts and/or their outcomes relative to a normative moral or legal code. The first, indeterminacy of action, is modelled by extending stit logic by allowing choices to have a probabilistic effect. The second, deliberateness of action, is modelled by (a) endowing stit operators with the possibility to specify a lower bound on the change of success, and (b) by introducing the notion of attempt as a maximisation of the probability of success. The third, evaluation relative to a moral or legal code, is modelled using Anderson’s reduction of normative truth to logical truth. The conclusion will be that the problems embodied by the phenomenon of moral luck may be introduced by confusing it with legal luck. Formalizations of both forms are given

Year: 2014
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