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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 58, Issue 3, September 2018

Tim Black
Pages 295-310
DOI: 10.5840/ipq2018524112

Action and Luck in the Kierkegaardian Ethical Project

To see the ethical as a space that is immune to luck, it seems that we must see it as a space that is utterly inner, locked away inside the cabinet of consciousness. If, on the other hand, we wish to see the space of the ethical as extending into the world, it seems that we must see it as being vulnerable to luck. Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms steer us through this dilemma by extending the space of the ethical into the world while also inoculating it against luck. For Kierkegaard, an action is a single thing with two aspects, one under which it is seen in terms of movements of the will, and another under which it is seen in terms of movements in the world. Given the structure of the Kierkegaardian ethical project, these movements are immune to luck since they can always achieve their ethical aims: they can always count as doing what one’s ideal self would do.