Impossible and Necessary: The Problem of Luck and the Promise of Kindness
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My dissertation explores the promise of kindness as a response to the problem of luck which confronts both ancient and modern visions of the moral life. A rich articulation of kindness in the light of historical moral theory reveals that, far from being a trifling, merely and purely sentimental phenomenon, kindness involves many of the key ethical commitments that distinguish both Aristotelian ethics and Kantian morality. More importantly, at the level of individuals kindness has the power to mitigate the toll of bad luck on agents and to yield the types of judgments that dissolve the problem of moral luck. Where it finds expression at the institutional level kindness has tremendous ameliorative potential. I therefore contend that kindness is to be esteemed above all other modes of comportment; in a world that is not up to us, our greatest hope for flourishing lies in being kind and in remaining graciously open to the kindness of others.