Thomas Nagel Moral Luck Summary

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In Thomas Nagel’s response to Bernard William’s, Moral Luck, Nagel questions whether our “moral goodness” or “moral badness” is simply a matter of sheer luck. Judging if someone is in fact “good” or “bad” or in other words, the way we are, the circumstances we face and, the way things turn out are indeed caused by luck. In this paper, I will confirm Nagel’s assertions in that the way things turn out, how we respond to given situations, and how one was raised are all a matter of luck in deciding ones moral goodness or badness. Being morally good or bad is just about how we are, and our temperaments. One’s background or upbringing can affect the outcome of one’s judgment, and that judgment is essentially what determines morality. Nagel explained that one does not have control over these personality …show more content…

For example, Rosa Parks sitting on the bus and refusing to give up her seat to a white man thus creating a path for equal right during the civil rights movement. Now, if Rosa were born in Africa and resided there, she wouldn’t have been presented with the opportunity to do this moral act. Her act was circumstantial and purely luck. The degree of being morally good or bad determines how one’s actions turn out. Nagel states, “Whether we succeed or fail…depends to some extent on factors beyond our control” (Nagel 1). The way things turn out cannot merely influence how good or bad we are, but whether or not we are good in the first place. The way we are, the circumstances we face, and the way things turn out is due to luck and we cannot be held responsible. So what is one left to be responsible for? We may not have complete control over our lives, but let us not fail to pay attention to our intuitions and our experiences of it. Many aspects go into deciding whether one is morally good or bad and ultimately can be traced back to

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