The epistemic analysis of luck

Episteme 12 (3):319-334 (2015)
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Abstract

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 than half of the relevant nearby possible worlds. But his account rejects that events which are as likely as those in Lackey’s examples are lucky. Instead, they are merely fortunate. I argue that Levy’s argument to this effect fails. I then offer a substitute account of the improbability condition which respects this intuition. This condition says that the relevant notion of probability for luck is epistemic.

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Gregory Stoutenburg
York College Of Pennsylvania

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