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On the alleged shallowness of compatibilism:\ud A critical study of Saul Smilansky: Free Will and Illusion

By James Lenman


[FIRST PARAGRAPHS] The millionaire’s idle, talentless and self-centered daughter inherits a large sum of money that she does not really deserve. The victim of kidnapping rots in a cell in 1980s Beirut in a captivity that springs not from any wrong he has done but from his ill-fortune in being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hard-working, brilliant and self-denying Nobel Prize-winning scientist receives a large cheque for his extraordinarily productive labours. The murderer spends decades in jail for the terrible crimes he has freely committed. The first two cases are cases where justice seems ill-served, where someone’s good or ill-fortune reflects not what they deserve but mere luck. The second two are cases where justice seems to be honoured: what befalls Scientist and Murderer reflects not their good or bad luck but their merits and deserts.\ud \ud As is notorious, closer examination may begin to undermine these judgements. Scientist may have worked hard for his results but not for his brains. Even if Millionaire’s Daughter were to study as hard as he has, perhaps she lacks the native talent that take him to Stockholm. That, no less than her parents' great wealth, seems a matter of sheer luck

Publisher: The S.H. Bergman Center for Philosophical Studies and the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in collaboration with the Jerusalem Philosophical Society
Year: 2002
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