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Moral Moments

Luck and Punishment

by Joel Marks

As you may have noticed, I have been able to prevail upon my fellow columnist, Socrates, to address a question of mine which he seemed peculiarly qualified to answer. As it happens, Socrates had been sitting on a letter sent to him by a reader of this magazine, which he felt ill-suited to deal with because it concerned another philosopher who was born more than two millennia after he had last walked in the agora. Furthermore, Socrates recognized that the philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and the type of issue in question, were ones I have dealt with often in my own column, so he asked if I’d take it on. Turnabout is fair play, so I have agreed to answer the letter (with apologies to its author). So without further ado.