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Heinzelmann, Nora. Compensation and moral luck
2021, The Monist 104 (2):251-264
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous

In some vicarious cases of compensation, an agent seems obligated to compensate for a harm they did not inflict. This raises the problem that obligations for compensation may arise out of circumstantial luck. That is, an agent may owe compensation for a harm that was outside their control. Addressing this issue, I identify five conditions for compensation from the literature: causal engagement, proxy, ill-gotten gains, constitution, and affiliation. I argue that only two of them specify genuine and irreducible grounds for compensation, and that factors determining the agent’s obligations may be beyond their control. However, I suggest that this is unproblematic. There is thus no problem of circumstantial moral luck for compensation.

Comment: Argues that there is no problem of moral luck for obligations of compensation. Surveys possible ethical justifications of compensation and may thus be used as a text in a class on reparation, restoration, and related issues in applied ethics and political philosophy. Also discusses moral luck, particularly circumstantial luck, and may thus be used to showcase how the issue of moral luck arises in the circumscribed context of compensation.

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