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Thinking about luck

Synthese 158 (3):385-398 (2007)

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  1. Putting the Luck Back Into Moral Luck.Neil Levy - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):59-74.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180:165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
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  • Risk.Duncan Pritchard - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (3):436-461.
    In this article it is argued that the standard theoretical account of risk in the contemporary literature, which is cast along probabilistic lines, is flawed, in that it is unable to account for a particular kind of risk. In its place a modal account of risk is offered. Two applications of the modal account of risk are then explored. First, to epistemology, via the defence of an anti-risk condition on knowledge in place of the normal anti-luck condition. Second, to legal (...)
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  • Epistemic Luck and the Extended Mind.J. Adam Carter - 2017 - In Ian M. Church (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Theories of Luck. London: Routledge.
    Contemporary debates about epistemic luck and its relation to knowledge have traditionally proceeded against a tacit background commitment to cognitive internalism, the thesis that cognitive processes play out inside the head. In particular, safety-based approaches (e.g., Pritchard 2005; 2007; Luper-Foy 1984; Sainsbury 1997; Sosa 1999; Williamson 2000) reveal this commitment by taking for granted a traditional internalist construal of what I call the cognitive fixedness thesis—viz., the thesis that the cognitive process that is being employed in the actual world is (...)
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  • Less Blame, Less Crime? The Practical Implications of Moral Responsibility Skepticism.Neil Levy - 2015 - Journal of Practical Ethics 3 (2):1-17.
    Most philosophers believe that wrongdoers sometimes deserve to be punished by long prison sentences. They also believe that such punishments are justified by their consequences: they deter crime and incapacitate potential offenders. In this article, I argue that both these claims are false. No one deserves to be punished, I argue, because our actions are shot through with direct or indirect luck. I also argue that there are good reasons to think that punishing fewer people and much less harshly will (...)
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  • Epistemic Luck.Mylan Engel Jr - 2011 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-41.
    Epistemic luck is a generic notion used to describe any of a number of ways in which it can be accidental, coincidental, or fortuitous that a person has a true belief. For example, one can form a true belief as a result of a lucky guess, as when one believes through guesswork that “C” is the right answer to a multiple-choice question and one’s belief just happens to be correct. One can form a true belief via wishful thinking; for example, (...)
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  • Luck as Risk.Fernando Broncano-Berrocal - forthcoming - In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck. Routledge.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the hypothesis that luck is a risk-involving phenomenon. I start by explaining why this hypothesis is prima facie plausible in view of the parallelisms between luck and risk. I then distinguish three ways to spell it out: in probabilistic terms, in modal terms, and in terms of lack of control. Before evaluating the resulting accounts, I explain how the idea that luck involves risk is compatible with the fact that risk concerns unwanted (...)
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  • Responsibility Beyond Belief: The Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility.Christopher Michael Cloos - 2018 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I argue for a new conception of the epistemic condition on moral responsibility.
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  • Luck and Significance.Nathan Ballantyne & Samuel Kampa - 2019 - In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck. Routledge. pp. 160-70.
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  • The Skeptic's Dogmatism: A Constructive Response to the Skeptical Problem.Kaplan Levent Hasanoglu - 2011 - Dissertation,
    The problem of philosophical skepticism relates to the difficulty involved in underwriting the claim that we know anything of spatio-temporal reality. It is often claimed, in fact, that proper philosophical scrutiny reveals quite the opposite from what common sense suggests. Knowledge of external reality is thought to be even quite obviously denied to us as a result of the alleged fact that we all fail to know that certain skeptical scenarios do not obtain. A skeptical scenario is one in which (...)
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  • A Verisimilitudinarian Analysis of the Linda Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2012 - VII Conference of the Spanish Society for Logic, Methodology and Philosphy of Science.
    The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
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  • The Modal Account of Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):594-619.
    This essay offers a rearticulation and defence of the modal account of luck that the author developed in earlier work . In particular, the proposal is situated within a certain methodology, a component of which is paying due attention to the cognitive science literature on luck ascriptions. It is shown that with the modal account of luck properly articulated it can adequately deal with some of the problems that have recently been offered against it, and that the view has a (...)
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  • Believing Things Unknown.Aidan McGlynn - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):385-407.
  • Wittgenstein’s Distinction Between Primary and Secondary Sense Reconsidered.Cato Wittusen - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:259-274.
    This essay discusses Wittgenstein’s suggestion that we may speak of a distinction between a word’s primary and secondary senses. Instead of seeing the distinction merely as an example of a puzzling language use, many commentators have attempted to work out the distinction in terms of a supplement to a general theory of sense that they presume Wittgenstein developed in his later writings. I don’t think it is fair to ascribe such systematic aspirations to Wittgenstein.Indeed, Wittgenstein speaks explicitly of the distinction (...)
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  • Luck and History‐Sensitive Compatibilism.Neil Levy - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):237-251.
    Libertarianism seems vulnerable to a serious problem concerning present luck, because it requires indeterminism somewhere in the causal chain leading to directly free action. Compatibilism, in contrast, is thought to be free of this problem, as not requiring indeterminism in the causal chain. I argue that this view is false: compatibilism is subject to a problem of present luck. This is less of a problem for compatibilism than for libertarianism. However, its effects are just as devastating for one kind of (...)
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  • Cross-World Luck at the Time of Decision is a Problem for Compatibilists as Well.Mirja Pérez de Calleja - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (2):112-125.
    (2014). Cross-world luck at the time of decision is a problem for compatibilists as well. Philosophical Explorations: Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 112-125. doi: 10.1080/13869795.2014.912673.
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  • Anti-Luck Epistemology, Pragmatic Encroachment, and True Belief.Nathan Ballantyne - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):485-503.
  • Does Luck Exclude Control?E. J. Coffman - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):499-504.
    Many philosophers hold that luck excludes control-more precisely, that an event is lucky for you only if that event lies beyond your control. Call this the Lack of Control Requirement (LCR) on luck. Jennifer Lackey [2008] has recently argued that there is no such requirement on luck. Should such an argument succeed, it would (among other things) disable a main objection to the "libertarian" position in the free will debate. After clarifying the LCR, I defend it against both Lackey's argument (...)
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  • What, and Where, Luck Is: A Response to Jennifer Lackey.Neil Levy - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):489 – 497.
    In 'What Luck Is Not', Lackey presents counterexamples to the two most prominent accounts of luck: the absence of control account and the modal account. I offer an account of luck that conjoins absence of control to a modal condition. I then show that Lackey's counterexamples mislocate the luck: the agents in her cases are lucky, but the luck precedes the event upon which Lackey focuses, and that event is itself only fortunate, not lucky. Finally I offer an account of (...)
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  • Misleading Dispositions and the Value of Knowledge.E. J. Coffman - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:241-258.
    Gettiered beliefs are those whose agents are subject to the kind of epistemologically significant luck illustrated by Gettier Cases. Provided that knowledge requires ungettiered belief, we can learn something about knowledge by figuring out how luck blocks it in Gettier Cases. After criticizing the most promising of the going approaches to gettiered belief—the Risk of False Belief Approach—, I explain and defend a new approach: the Risk of Misleading Dispositions Approach.Roughly, this view says that a belief is gettiered just in (...)
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  • The Epistemic Analysis of Luck.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2015 - Episteme 12 (3):319-334.
    Duncan Pritchard has argued that luck is fundamentally a modal notion: an event is lucky when it occurs in the actual world, but does not occur in more than half of the relevant nearby possible worlds. Jennifer Lackey has provided counterexamples to accounts which, like Pritchard’s, only allow for the existence of improbable lucky events. Neil Levy has responded to Lackey by offering a modal account of luck which attempts to respect the intuition that some lucky events occur in more (...)
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  • Luck and Manipulation Cases: A Response to Professor Haji.Neil Levy - 2015 - Dialogue 54 (4):633-646.
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  • Does Luck Have a Place in Epistemology?Nathan Ballantyne - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1391-1407.
    Some epistemologists hold that exploration and elaboration of the nature of luck will allow us to better understand knowledge. I argue this is a mistake.
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  • Global Safety: How to Deal with Necessary Truths.Jaakko Hirvelä - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1167-1186.
    According to the safety condition, a subject knows that p only if she would believe that p only if p was true. The safety condition has been a very popular necessary condition for knowledge of late. However, it is well documented that the safety condition is trivially satisfied in cases where the subject believes in a necessary truth. This is for the simple reason that a necessary truth is true in all possible worlds, and therefore it is true in all (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility, Luck, and Compatibilism.Taylor W. Cyr - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):193-214.
    In this paper, I defend a version of compatibilism against luck-related objections. After introducing the types of luck that some take to be problematic for moral responsibility, I consider and respond to two recent attempts to show that compatibilism faces the same problem of luck that libertarianism faces—present luck. I then consider a different type of luck—constitutive luck—and provide a new solution to this problem. One upshot of the present discussion is a reason to prefer a history-sensitive compatibilist account over (...)
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  • Frankfurt in Fake Barn Country.Neil Levy - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):529-542.
    It is very widely held that Frankfurt-style cases—in which a counterfactual intervener stands by to bring it about that an agent performs an action but never actually acts because the agent performs that action on her own—show that free will does not require alternative possibilities. This essay argues that that conclusion is unjustified, because merely counterfactual interveners may make a difference to normative properties. It presents a modified version of a fake barn case to show how a counterfactual intervener can (...)
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  • Getting Moral Luck Right.Lee John Whittington - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):654-667.
    Moral luck, until recently, has been understood either explicitly or implicitly through using a lack of control account of luck. For example, a case of resultant moral luck is a case where an agent is morally blameworthy or more morally blameworthy or praiseworthy for an outcome despite that outcome being significantly beyond that agent's control . Due to a shift in understanding the concept of luck itself in terms of modal robustness, however, other accounts of moral luck have surfaced. Both (...)
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  • Luck and Interests.Nathan Ballantyne - 2012 - Synthese 185 (3):319-334.
    Recent work on the nature of luck widely endorses the thesis that an event is good or bad luck for an individual only if it is significant for that individual. In this paper, I explore this thesis, showing that it raises questions about interests, well-being, and the philosophical uses of luck. In Sect. 1, I examine several accounts of significance, due to Pritchard (2005), Coffman (2007), and Rescher (1995). Then in Sect. 2 I consider what some theorists want to ‘do’ (...)
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  • Strokes of Luck.E. J. Coffman - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):477-508.
    This essay aims to reorient current theorizing about luck as an aid to our discerning this concept's true philosophical significance. After introducing the literature's leading theories of luck, it presents and defends counterexamples to each of them. It then argues that recent luck theorists’ main target of analysis—the concept of an event's being lucky for a subject—is parasitic on the more fundamental notion of an event's being a stroke of luck for a subject, which thesis serves as at least a (...)
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  • Anti-Luck Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):277-297.
    In this paper, I do three things. First, I offer an overview of an anti- luck epistemology, as set out in my book, Epistemic Luck. Second, I attempt to meet some of the main criticisms that one might level against the key theses that I propose in this work. And finally, third, I sketch some of the ways in which the strategy of anti- luck epistemology can be developed in new directions.
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  • Virtue Epistemology and Epistemic Luck, Revisited.Duncan Pritchard - 2008 - Metaphilosophy 39 (1):66–88.
    In this article I return to an argument that I presented in earlier work to the effect that virtue epistemology is at worse false and at best unmotivated. In the light of recent responses to this argument from such figures as John Greco, Guy Axtell, and Kelly Becker, I here re-state and re-evaluate this argument. In the process the original argument is refined and supplemented in key respects and some of the main charges against it are shown to be unfounded. (...)
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  • But for the Grace of God: Abortion and Cognitive Disability, Luck and Moral Status.Jonathan Surovell - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):257-277.
    Many theories of moral status that are intended to ground pro-choice views on abortion tie full moral status to advanced cognitive capabilities. Extant accounts of this kind are inconsistent with the intuition that the profoundly cognitively disabled have full moral status. This paper improves upon these extant accounts by combining an anti-luck condition with Steinbock’s stratification of moral status into two levels. On the resulting view, a being has full moral status if and only if she has moral status and (...)
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  • Luck, Knowledge, and “Mere” Coincidence.Wayne D. Riggs - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):627-639.
    There are good reasons for pursuing a theory of knowledge by way of understanding the connection between knowledge and luck. Not surprisingly, then, there has been a burgeoning of interest in “luck theories” of knowledge as well as in theories of luck in general. Unfortunately, “luck” proves to be as recalcitrant an analysandum as “knows.” While it is well worth pursuing a general theory of luck despite these difficulties, our theory of knowledge might be made more manageable if we could (...)
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  • Luck and Agent-Causation: A Response to Franklin.Neil Levy - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):779-784.
    Christopher Franklin argues that the hard luck view, which I have recently defended, is misnamed: the arguments turn on absence of control and not on luck. He also argues that my objections to agent-causal libertarianism depend on a demand, for a contrastive explanation that guarantees the choice the agent makes, which would be question-begging in the dialectical context. In response to the first objection, I argue that though Franklin may be right that it is absence of control that matters to (...)
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  • No Luck With Knowledge? On a Dogma of Epistemology.Peter Baumann - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):523-551.
    Current epistemological orthodoxy has it that knowledge is incompatible with luck. More precisely: Knowledge is incompatible with epistemic luck . This is often treated as a truism which is not even in need of argumentative support. In this paper, I argue that there is lucky knowledge. In the first part, I use an intuitive and not very developed notion of luck to show that there are cases of knowledge which are “lucky” in that sense. In the second part, I look (...)
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  • Luck, Knowledge and Value.Lee Whittington - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1615-1633.
    In a recent set of publications Ballantyne :485–503, 2011, Synthese 185:319–334, 2012, Synthese 91:1391–1407, 2013) argues that luck does not have a significant role in understanding the concept of knowledge. The problem, Ballantyne argues, lies in what is commonly thought to be a necessary condition for luck—a significance or value condition :385–398, 2007; Lackey, in Austral J Philos 86:255–267, 2008, Ballantyne, in Can J Philos 41:485–503, 2011). For an event, like forming a true belief, to be lucky then it must (...)
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  • Zimmerman’s The Immorality of Punishment: A Critical Essay. [REVIEW]Neil Levy - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (1):103-112.
    In “The Immorality of Punishment”, Michael Zimmerman attempts to show that punishment is morally unjustified and therefore wrong. In this response, I focus on two main questions. First, I examine whether Zimmerman’s empirical claims—concerning our inability to identify wrongdoers who satisfy conditions on blameworthiness and who might be reformed through punishment, and the comparative efficacy of punitive and non-punitive responses to crime—stand up to scrutiny. Second, I argue that his crucial argument from luck depends on claims about counterfactuals that ought (...)
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  • Luck as Risk and the Lack of Control Account of Luck.Fernando Broncano‐Berrocal - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (1):1-25.
    This essay explains the notion of luck in terms of risk. It starts by distinguishing two senses of risk, the risk that an event has of occurring and the risk at which an agent is with respect to an event. It cashes out the former in modal terms and the latter in terms of lack of control. It then argues that the presence or absence of event-relative risk marks a distinction between two types of luck or fortune commonly overlooked in (...)
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  • Subject‐Involving Luck.Joe Milburn - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):578-593.
    In recent years, philosophers have tended to think of luck as being a relation between an event and a subject; to give an account of luck is to fill in the right-hand side of the following biconditional: an event e is lucky for a subject S if and only if ____. We can call such accounts of luck subject-relative accounts of luck, since they attempt to spell out what it is for an event to be lucky relative to a subject. (...)
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  • In Defense of an Epistemic Probability Account of Luck.Gregory Stoutenburg - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Many philosophers think that part of what makes an event lucky concerns how probable that event is. In this paper, I argue that an epistemic probability account of luck successfully resists recent arguments that all theories of luck, including probability theories, are subject to counterexample (Hales 2016). I argue that an event is lucky if and only if it is significant and sufficiently improbable. An event is significant when, given some reflection, the subject would regard the event as significant, and (...)
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  • No Safe Haven for the Virtuous.Jaakko Hirvelä - forthcoming - Episteme:1-16.
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  • Bad Luck for the Anti‐Luck Epistemologist.Rodrigo Borges - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (4):463-479.
    Anti-luck epistemologists tell us that knowledge is incompatible with epistemic luck and that epistemic luck is just a special case of luck in general. Much work has been done on the intricacies of the first claim. In this paper, I scrutinize the second claim. I argue that it does not survive scrutiny. I then offer an analysis of luck that explains the relevant data and avoids the problems from which the current views of luck suffer. However, this analysis of luck (...)
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  • Luck as an Epistemic Notion.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2010 - Synthese 176 (3):361-377.
    Many philosophers have argued that an event is lucky for an agent only if it was suitably improbable, but there is considerable disagreement about how to understand this improbability condition. This paper argues for a hitherto overlooked construal of the improbability condition in terms of the lucky agent’s epistemic situation. According to the proposed account, an event is lucky for an agent only if the agent was not in a position to know that the event would occur. It is also (...)
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  • Epistemic Luck.Joshue Orozco - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (1):11-21.
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  • You Make Your Own Luck.Rachel McKinnon - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):558-577.
    This essay takes up two questions. First, what does it mean to say that someone creates her own luck? At least colloquially speaking, luck is conceived as something out of an agent's control. So how could an agent increase or decrease the likelihood that she'll be lucky? Building on some recent work on the metaphysics of luck, the essay argues that there is a sense in which agents can create their own luck because people with more skill tend to have (...)
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