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Volume 34 Issue 4 (July 2003), Pages 387-538

Constitutive Luck (pages 460-475)


‘Constitutive luck’ refers to luck that affects the sort of person one is. This article demonstrates that it is a philosophically troubling sort of luck, causing problems in, at least, ethics and political philosophy. Some, notably Susan Hurley, Nicholas Rescher, and Daniel Statman, have argued that such trouble can be avoided, by pointing out that the notion of constitutive luck is incoherent. The article examines this claim by means of a discussion of the idea of luck in general, settling on an account of luck in terms of the notions of chance, value, and (lack of) control. This account is then used to show that the notion of constitutive luck is not incoherent. We are stuck with the problems made by constitutive luck.

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