Synopses & Reviews
Bogdan Olaru argues in his book that good outcomes may sometimes block good moral criticism. It is well documented that people find actions ending with bad outcomes more morally blameworthy compared with similar actions resulting in neutral or positive outcomes. While bad outcomes sometimes bias moral evaluation, the author shows that good results can also yield the same effect. He studied the case when people failed to behave ethically, and the bad outcome of their actions is repaired by some unexpected intervention. Two between-subjects experiments provided evidence that reversing the effects of the bad outcome makes unethical behavior appear less problematic, although the correction actually equates the acknowledgment of the bad outcome. Bogdan Olaru calls this mitigating virtue of restoring the positive balance of losses and gains the "restitution effect". Several explanations for this special form of moral luck are discussed. This research contributes to a better understanding of how people approach ethical questions and make moral judgments.