The modal account of luck revisited

Synthese 194 (6):2175-2184 (2017)
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According to the canonical formulation of the modal account of luck [e.g. Pritchard (2005)], an event is lucky just when that event occurs in the actual world but not in a wide class of the nearest possible worlds where the relevant conditions for that event are the same as in the actual world. This paper argues, with reference to a novel variety of counterexample, that it is a mistake to focus, when assessing a given event for luckiness, on events distributed over just the nearest possible worlds. More specifically, our objection to the canonical formulation of the modal account of luck reveals that whether an event is lucky depends crucially on events distributed over all possible worlds–viz., across the modal universe. It is shown that an amended modal account of luck which respects this point has the additional virtue of avoiding a notable kind of counterexample to modal accounts of luck proposed by Lackey (2008).

Author Profiles

James Carter
Oxford University
Martin Peterson
Texas A&M University


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