Luck, fate, and fortune: the tychic properties

Philosophical Explorations:1-17 (2024)
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Abstract

The paper offers an account of luck, fate, and fortune. It begins by showing that extant accounts of luck are deficient because they do not identify the genus of which luck is a species. That genus of properties, the tychic, alert an agent to occasions on which the external world cooperates with or frustrates their goal-achievement. An agent’s sphere of competence is the set of goals that it is possible for them to reliably achieve. Luck concerns occasions on which there is a mismatch between attempt and result; in bad luck the external world thwarts goal-achievement within the agent’s sphere of competence, in good luck the external world assists goal-achievement beyond the agent’s sphere of competence. Fateful events are those where, more passively, the agent finds the external world achieving or frustrating their goals. Fortune concerns the contraction and expansion of the agent’s sphere of competence. Eight reasons are given for accepting the account; its theoretical virtues and various things it explains. Lastly, three objections are answered; that the tychic properties relate to well-being rather than agency, that there are alternative theories of fortune available in the contemporary literature, that the account draws arbitrary distinctions between synonyms.

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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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