A Defence of the Control Principle

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The nexus of the moral luck debate is the control principle, which says that people are responsible only for things within their control. In this paper, I will first argue that the control principle should be restrained to blameworthiness, because responsibility is too wide a concept to square with control. Many deniers of moral luck appeal to the intuitiveness of the control principle. Defenders of moral luck do not share this intuition and demand a stronger defence of the control principle. I will establish a defence of the control principle based on the value of simplicity for selecting a theory of blameworthiness. A simpler theory of blameworthiness is more likely to be true, and not being falsely judged blameworthy is desirable. I will conclude that simplicity advices the acceptance of the control principle over other theories of blameworthiness that embrace factors beyond control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-775
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophia: philosophical quarterly of Israel
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Blame
  • Blameworthiness
  • Control principle
  • Moral luck
  • Simplicity


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