On Luck and Modality

Erkenntnis 87 (4):1873-1887 (2020)
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Abstract

The modal account of luck is the predominant account of luck in epistemology and ethics. In the first half of this paper, I discuss three possible interpretations of the modal account and raise objections to each. I then raise an objection to all plausible versions of the modal account, that is, that whether an event is lucky or the extent to which it is a matter of luck will depend on what initial conditions or features of the event one holds constant across nearby possible worlds. However, there is often reasonable disagreement about what the relevant initial conditions of an event are, and the modal account of luck has no means of determining which description of the event is correct. As such, the modal account is subject to a kind of reference class problem, and the view cannot actually tell us the extent to which certain events are a matter of luck.

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Citations of this work

On luck and significance.Jesse Hill - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-18.
What's Luck Got to do with the Luck Pincer?Jesse Hill - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (4):837-858.

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References found in this work

Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.
Assertion, knowledge, and context.Keith DeRose - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (2):167-203.
Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology.Rik Peels - 2016 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press USA.

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