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Williams, Smith, and the Peculiarity of Piacularity



This article reflects on some of the complexities in Williams' discussion of moral luck. It compares this discussion with previous work, especially by Adam Smith, and argues that Williams' fear that the phenomenon of moral luck threatens the coherence of our moral concepts is unfounded.



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Hume, David. (1975) An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Edited by Selby-Bigge, L. A.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knobe, Joshua. (2003) ‘Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language’. Analysis, 63, 190–3.
Nichols, Shaun, and Knobe, Joshua. (2007) ‘Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions’. Nous, 41 (4), 663–85.
Proust, Marcel. (1934) Remembrance of Things Past. Vol. 1: Swann in Love. Translated by Moncrieff, Charles Scott. New York: Random House.
Smith, Adam. (1976) The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by Raphael, D. D. and Macfie, A. L.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Williams, Bernard. (1981) ‘Moral Luck’. In Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980 (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press), 20–39.
Williams, Bernard. (1996) ‘Contemporary Philosophy: A Second Look’. In Bunnin, N. and Tsui-James, P. (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell), 23–35.
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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-american-philosophical-association
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