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Luck, Value, and Commitment

Edited by Ulrike Heuer and Gerald Lang

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599325
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741500 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599325.001.0001
Luck, Value, and Commitment

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This book comprises eleven chapters which engage with, or take their point of departure from, the influential work in moral and political philosophy of Bernard Williams (1929–2003). Various themes of Williams's work are explored and taken in new directions. The chapters are all concerned with Williams's work on the viability or wisdom of systematic moral theory, and his criticism, in particular, of moral theory's preoccupation with impartiality. Some chapters address Williams's work on moral luck, and his insistence that moral appraisals bear a disquieting sensitivity to various kinds of luck. One chapter makes further connections between moral luck and the ‘non-identity problem’ in reproductive ethics. Other chapters investigate Williams's defence of ‘internalism’ about reasons for action, which makes our reasons for action a function of our desires, projects, and psychological dispositions. One chapter attempts to plug a gap in Williams's theory which is created by Williams's deference to imagination, while another chapter connects these issues to Williams's accommodation of ‘thick’ ethical concepts as a source of knowledge and action-guidingness. A further chapter examines Williams's less-known work on the other central normative concept, ‘ought’. Another chapter takes a look at Williams's work on moral epistemology and intuitionism, comparing and contrasting his work with that of John McDowell, and Gerald Lang explores Williams's work on equality, discrimination, and interspecies relations in order to reach the conclusion, similar to Williams's, theory that ‘speciesism’ is very unlike racism or sexism.

Keywords: Bernard Williams; moral luck; non-identity problem; internalism; ethical concepts; ought; discrimination; interspecies relations; speciesism

Book.  352 pages. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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Theory versus Anti-theory in Ethics in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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The Inescapability of Consequentialism in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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Agency and Luck in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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A Puzzle about Internal Reasons in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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Thick Concepts and Internal Reasons in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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Williams on <i>Ought</i> in Luck, Value, and Commitment

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