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Volume 47 • Number 1

January 2010



Why Agent-Caused Actions Are Not Lucky

by Meghan Griffith

Philosophers like to worry about luck. And well they should. Luck poses potential difficulties for knowledge, moral appraisal, and freedom. The primary target of this paper will be the last of these concerns (though there will be some connection to the second one). Recent arguments from luck have been levied against libertarian accounts of free will, including agent-causal ones. One general goal of this paper will be to demonstrate the truth of an often overlooked claim about responsibility-undermining luck. Part of this task will include illustrating what is genuinely worrisome about luck in the context of free will. It will turn out that the problem is not fundamentally a problem of explanation. Another aim will be to argue that the truth of this claim about luck reveals a problem for event-causal libertarianism but has yet to reveal a problem for the agent-causal view. For the purposes of this paper, it will be assumed that luck does indeed undermine free action and moral responsibility. But it will be argued that agent-caused actions have not been shown to be "lucky."

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ISSN: 2152-1123