Modal Insurance: Probabilities, Risk, and Degrees of Luck

Southwest Philosophical Studies 41 (2019)
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Many widely divergent accounts of luck have been offered or employed in discussing an equally wide range of philosophical topics. We should, then, expect to find some unified philosophical conception of luck of which moral luck, epistemic luck, and luck egalitarianism are species. One of the attempts to provide such an account is that offered by Duncan Pritchard, which he refers to as the modal account. This view commits us to calling an event lucky when it obtains in this world, but fails to obtain in a wide class of nearby possible worlds. In support of this account, Pritchard argues that a theory of luck ought to capture the fact that luck comes in degrees and that luck is closely associated with risk. I argue against this claim by suggesting that an understanding of luck grounded in considerations of probability is better able to satisfy these demands, and that the probability theory better explains exemplary cases of luck like those brought up by Pritchard.

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Emmie Malone
Lone Star College


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