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CPP Colloquium 'The Moral Luck in Making No Difference'

Thursday 23 February 2023
CPP Colloquia 2022-2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The Centre of Political Philosophy is pleased to announce a lecture by Lisa Herzog, Professor of Political Philosophy in Groningen.

Prof. dr. Christine Tiefensee

The Moral Luck in Making No Difference


The ‘no-difference problem’ challenges us to explain if, and if so on what grounds, individuals can be held morally responsible for collective harms to which their actions make no difference. In this paper, I provide a novel response to this question by assessing cases of no-difference making from the perspective of moral luck. More precisely, I will examine whether or not an agent’s no-difference making gives rise to moral luck such that those who make a difference to a collective harm are morally unlucky in being blameworthy, whereas those whose actions make no difference are morally lucky in escaping blame in relation to the collective harm’s occurrence. I will contend that there is no such moral luck. More particularly, I will argue that the only morally non-arbitrary way to attribute moral responsibility for collective harms is to hold all agents partaking in a specific action type morally responsible, even if their individual actions make no difference to the harm in question. To render this ‘argument from moral arbitrariness’ more precise will be the objective of this talk.

About the Center for Political Philosophy (CPP) Colloquia Series

The CPP is a collaboration between the Institute for Philosophy and the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University. Attendance of the Colloquia is free and there is no need to register. See CPP for more information. For further questions please contact dr. Tim Meijers at t.meijers@hum.leidenuniv.nl

All are welcome!

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