When Williams made this argument for what he called moral luck, it provoked huge controversy. Wasn\’t an act either moral or immoral, regardless of the consequences?
Would Gauguin\’s abandonment of his family have been justifiable if he\’d drowned on the way to Tahiti? Or if he\’d been simply a bad watercolourist? The argument is being made that because he produced great art as a result then it was OK.
Bit morally suspect really….the ends justify the means, no?
Would Lenin and Stalin\’s massacres of tens of millions have been justified if communism had in fact arrived? Pol Pot\’s of a third of the population if agrarian socialism had in fact turned out to be what made everyone happy?
You see the problem and I don\’t see that there\’s a let out because great art rather than the perfect society was created (although of course I do see the difference between abandoning a Danish wife in Denmark with her five children and rounding up millions into camps).
But we cannot simply turn around and insist that the end never justifies the means either. Millions died defeating Hitler and that\’s generally regarded as morally just. (Generally, for there are those who insist that that end does not justify violence.)
Not sure there\’s anywhere to go with this well known moral conundrum except to say that I\’m deeply unconvinced that artists have any more of a get out clause than the rest of us.