chapter  8
19 Pages

Gauguin’s lucky escape

Moral luck and the morality system
WithGerald Lang

‘The Gauguin case’ section will outline his central case, the Gauguin case, and note some of its important features. In Williams’ simplified version of the story, a budding painter, Gauguin, abandons his family to pursue his artistic dreams in Tahiti. Gauguin’s decision to abandon his family is justified by the non-moral value of what he goes on to achieve. The Self-Realization Interpretation gets a number of things importantly right. It obviously accommodates Anna’s case as well as the Gauguin case. The Absence of Regret Interpretation provides a better account of the composition of Gauguin’s moral personality; it is sensitive to the roles of luck and retrospective justification; and it also fills in some much needed further psychological details about the benefits of the justification which Gauguin hopes to acquire. The Modified Absence of Regret Interpretation does not pretend that Gauguin’s decision already embeds this conditional structure.