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Sunday, September 23, 2018

The radical moral implications of luck in human life

David Roberts
vox.com
Originally posted August 21, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

So, then, here you are. You turn 18. You are no longer a child; you are an adult, a moral agent, responsible for who you are and what you do.

By that time, your inheritance is enormous. You’ve not only been granted a genetic makeup, an ethnicity and appearance, by accidents of nature and parentage. You’ve also had your latent genetic traits “activated” in a very specific way through a specific upbringing, in a specific environment, with a specific set of experiences.

Your basic mental and emotional wiring is in place; you have certain instincts, predilections, fears, and cravings. You have a certain amount of money, certain social connections and opportunities, a certain family lineage. You’ve had a certain amount and quality of education. You’re a certain kind of person.

You are not responsible for any of that stuff; you weren’t yet capable of being responsible. You were just a kid (or worse, a teen). You didn’t choose your genes or your experiences. Both nature and the vast bulk of the nurture that matters happened to you.

And yet when you turn 18, it’s all yours — the whole inheritance, warts and all. By the time you are an autonomous, responsible moral agent, you have effectively been fired out of a cannon, on a particular trajectory. You wake up, morally speaking, midflight.

The info is here.
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