The book doesn't feel heavy or sad Like you're witnessing the first steps of two people who don't even realize they've veered onto a new path. As is true with the first book in this series, the friendship between Kit, Zoe, and Greer is just as central to this book as the romance. And for that, I stand up and applaud Kate Clayborn. And let me just say Deep, happy sigh from the core of this romance reader's heart.
I closed this book looking like a swallowed a coat hanger This is a book that's going to stay with me for a very long time. I wasn't completely sold on the depth of Zoe's guilt for things she'd done in her life. Mistakes and bad decisions made? But I just couldn't wrap my mind around how hard she was on herself. View all 4 comments. Feb 21, Adele Buck rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
Holy bananas. This is a very different story, but still told with great craft, immediacy, and heart. It i Holy bananas. It is funny and angsty and I cannot wait for people to be able to buy it. View all 11 comments. Apr 23, Maria Rose rated it it was amazing Shelves: 5-star-reads , sexy-as-all-get-out , fully-reviewed-books , enemies-to-lovers , best-of , fake-engagement-or-relationship. When three friends win a lottery prize together, they have to make some serious choices about what to do with the money. For Zoe Ferris, quitting her job as a cutthroat attorney is the first step.
She says she want to take some vacation time off to plan a trip yet she finds Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn is the second romance in her Chance of a Lifetime series. She says she want to take some vacation time off to plan a trip yet she finds herself stuck. As luck would have it, the first names she draws from the jar are the parents from her last case, that of a young man killed in a drug overdose for whom she had negotiated a cash settlement in a wrongful death suit.
Mentally steeling herself, she heads to the address, encounters the son and brother of the young man who died — and promptly faints in his driveway. A paramedic, he gets her back on her feet and when she awkwardly tries to offer to atone for what happened with his brother Aaron, Aiden knows just how she can do it.
A summer camp that he and Aaron went to as boys is up for sale, and he wants to make a presentation to purchase it from the owners, long time family friends, to develop it as an addictions treatment center. But the owners are looking for a family to take over.
He wants Zoe to pretend to be his fiancee, spend several weekends at the camp and help him sell the idea of his proposal. Zoe agrees, and despite an awkward and almost hostile start, they come to a truce. Then things get more complicated because neither wants to deny the attraction simmering between them, even though getting involved is the last thing they should do.
As their time together ticks away, painful truths and confidences are shared, and a true friendship develops along with stronger feelings. But when their secret engagement is found out to be a lie, will it spell the end of something that was just becoming a lifeline for them both? Emotional, heartwarming, and full of laughs and tears, Luck of the Draw is a compelling romance. From the first page I was drawn into this story of guilt, forgiveness and redemption. Zoe made mistakes when she was younger, and she is afraid of making those mistakes again.
Similarly, Zoe helps Aiden to look at the relationship he had with his brother Aaron and come to terms with the guilt he feels for not being able to prevent his death. He still makes mistakes but becomes a man able to forgive and accept things as they are. When that spills over into their time back home, it seems like they might be able to find something for themselves, until everything goes awry. The other aspect of the story I really enjoyed is the friendship between Zoe and her two best friends and fellow lottery winners, Kit and Greer.
Her time with Aiden helps her see that she can open up to them and reveal her insecurities and that they will accept her as she is. Similarly, Aiden has two co-workers, Charlie female and Ahmed with whom his relationship at first is one of a more silent partner. As he reveals more of himself to Zoe, he also becomes better at being a friend to them and letting them in.
The author draws you into a complex world navigating grief, friendship and love in a page turning and thoroughly enjoyable read. A copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. Apr 11, Ami rated it really liked it Shelves: arc-books , romance , 4-stars-and-more-but-less-than She still wonders about what to do with the money when her guilty conscience hits her and she tries to make amends. One of them is a case in which her firm plays a part on, giving settlement towards a family who loses their son because of a drug trial side effect.
But the other son, Adam O'Leary doesn't want her apology I am not the biggest fan of enemies-to-lovers trope And yes, at times there were too many internal monologues happening inside Aiden and Zoe's head. But while it's not perfect, but for me, it's so much better than book 1. The background of Aiden and Zoe feels more serious, darker at times, but it also makes it more heartfelt as the two deal with loss, grief, and guilt. The story also presents a believable turn from 'enemies to lovers' that happens with a well-timed process, with exchanged conversations which makes both Aiden and Zoe realize that they have THINGS in common, and they actually help one another moving on and strives for the better.
Plus that love declaration by Aiden near the end needs a trophy of its own. Well said, Aiden, well said. The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received. Mar 15, Blackjack rated it really liked it Shelves: books-i-own , published I really liked this second book in Clayborn's series as much as the first, though neither main character is as likeable, or at least initially as likeable.
Part of the joy of this book though is watching Zoe and Aiden grow, and change, and even learn from each other. By the end of the book, I completely believed in their character development and their future success together. Guilt is the predominant issue driving this story for both characters, and it plays out in a number of sub plots.
As a fo I really liked this second book in Clayborn's series as much as the first, though neither main character is as likeable, or at least initially as likeable. As a former high-powered attorney, Zoe dislikes the person she has become. At the start of the story she is attempting to rectify past mistakes that still plague her since quitting her job. A huge payout to Aidan's family on the death of his twin brother from a drug overdose is the first guilty memory Zoe wants to tackle.
As a medic Aidan's own feelings of guilt at his brother's death are exacerbated since he feels he should have known how to intervene. Not wanting Zoe's apology, he does, however, see an opportunity in her to put his "blood money" payoff to use. Not surprisingly, Zoe is all in to help Aidan, even knowing he thinks the worst of her. Thus, the two set off for a campsite up for sale in rural Virginia where they will pretend to be a married couple in order to make a pitch for turning the site into a rehab facility. Much of the novel uses this setting for Aidan to sort through his guilt and grief over the loss of his brother, and for Zoe to amend and reflect on a worthy way to live her own life going forward.
Their separate but also integrated trajectories are touching and the buildup to their falling in love felt very believable. Of note, as with Beginner's Luck this is a novel featuring a diverse cast of characters, of which I am particularly grateful. Not quite a 5-star read for me mainly because I do not see myself rereading this one, I still highly recommend it though. Also, at the very end, there is the first chapter of Greer's and Alex's book and that first chapter was so good.
I am really looking forward to their story.
Luck | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
View all 7 comments. Sep 28, steph rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-read-in , e-book , enjoyable , library-la-public , made-me-grin-like-a-lovesick-fool , fiction-family , romance , made-me-cry-like-a-baby. What a good book. I really enjoyed this book and the characters. Zoe and Aiden have lives and baggage and stuff, but they fit together really well in a way that made me root for them and their story. I know I'm not going to explain this well but it was nice to read a romance novel in which the two leads actually communicate and I didn't spend most of the book banging my head against the wall wanting them to talk or be honest with each other.
Zoe and Aiden were even with the whole "fake fiancee What a good book. Zoe and Aiden were even with the whole "fake fiancee bit open with each other and that was really refreshing to read. More books should be like that. Can't wait to read Greer's story next! May 01, Jess rated it it was amazing Shelves: new , all , romance , own-ebook , romance-contemporary. This was achyyyyyyyyyyy in all the best ways. What a good, complicated romance between people who are not at all equipped to be in that kind of relationship.
I really, really liked this and I can't wait for book three. When do I get book three? View all 8 comments. People, Imma need a gag order soon if my reviews keep running the length of an Oscars broadcast. But I blame the authors - they're writing some kickass stories that I cannot stop gushing over, so let's deep dive this thing, shall we? Zoe is at a crossroads. Until the day she decides to make a guilt jar and fill it with slips of all her past mistakes, misdeeds, and regrets.
- Grannies and Guinea Pigs: Poems for Children!
- Luck - Wikipedia!
- Agatha’s Stolen Curve.
- Academic Tools?
When she randomly selects a slip to begin her apology tour, she picks one of the hardest ones she could have chosen - Mr. Yes, that meeting is as awkward as you expect. It also leads to a fake engagement where walls crumble, feelings are faced and yes, romance happens. I sat here, trying to figure out how to delineate between the good and the bad and I felt so many mixed emotions, much like Zoe and Aiden.
I mean, I absolutely ended up loving them. Dude I said I was cute, not bright. It really was a rollercoaster. You feel every jarringly awkward moment while climbing up to that peak when their relationship turns from fake to real, but when the story gets that momentum going, you feel the rush of falling in love.
You feel that smile break free on your face as the ice begins to thaw and finally, you experience burst of adrenaline when Aiden truly lays himself bare. For those who love a good grovel, it was the grovel that you hope for, the grovel that shows other grovels how it SHOULD be done. It was epic. That climax is cathartic and made all the early angst so, so worth the journey.
Another strong, emotional read from Ms. Clayborn that is decidedly different from the first book in the series. I ended up loving Aiden and Zoe. Lord, this journey is worth that pain. Dec 11, Jultri rated it really liked it Shelves: contemporary , hate-love , fake-engagement , tortured-hero. The first one was solid, but this one was a bit better, more emotionally rich. The premise was slightly far-fetched to start with, but once we get past the concept, the story-telling is quite captivating and the flawed but likeable characters reel the reader in before too long.
Zoe Ferris unhesitantly quit her job as highly efficient and cool-under-fire corporate lawyer 6 months ago, following her unexpected 4. Zoe Ferris unhesitantly quit her job as highly efficient and cool-under-fire corporate lawyer 6 months ago, following her unexpected windfall. Unsure of what to do with herself now that she is financially secure for a while, she spends a lot of time reflecting on her past deeds and the result is a shitload of guilt - guilt for the hurt she had contributed to or directly caused while acting in her legal capacity for her company and guilt over actions she were responsible for in her personal life.
And so she sets about making amends starting with simple and heartfelt apologies. The intention sounded good when she initially conceived the notion, but then everything sounded good when one was a bit tipsy. In reality, the recipients of her apologies might not be so magnanimous. Aiden O'Leary knows much about living with guilt every day of his life. He witnessed his brother's slow destruction over the years from drug abuse, helpless to stop it from spiralling out of control.
As a paramedic, he saves countless lives as part of his job but was unable to save his brother from the clutch of opiate addiction and ultimately from his death as a result of the adverse effects of a drug that was prescribed for the addiction. So when Zoe turns up on his driveway dredging up the hurt all over again with her mere presence, he was not going to politely absolve her when he hasn't yet been absolved himself.
He emotionally blackmails her into assisting him in his endeavour to atone himself for his failure as a brother, by trying to use the compensation blood money offered by the pharmaceutical company as coolly negotiated by Zoe months earlier to establish a wilderness addiction rehabilitation clinic in the site of the old summer camp, he and his brother attended for many years. The Christian owners have organised for the potential buyers to attend six weekends in a row to bond and promote their plans for the camp site and Aiden thought his chances might improve if Zoe pretends to be his fiancee.
So though barely able to tolerate her presence, he nevertheless drags her along with him but of course, he soon struggles to maintain the distance and detachment when faced with Zoe's natural, unpretentious, bug-fearing charm. There are some genuinely emotional scenes featuring internal and external struggles as they both deal with past regrets and move towards learning to forgive themselves before they can forgive others. Again very good narration told from dual first person POVs. May 31, Angie rated it really liked it Shelves: good-uns , romance , new-adult.
I'm so grateful for reader friends you know and trust. Mine always bring me the best finds, ones I would likely completely miss otherwise. Such was the case with Kate Clayborn's Luck of the Draw. I'd seen it floating about the 'verse for a little while now. But something about the cover inexplicably gave me country music vibes.
And I just was not in the mood for that story right now, you know? But then the excellent Brie took to talking it up on Twitter, and thank heavens for that. Because I bou I'm so grateful for reader friends you know and trust. Because I bought it on her word alone and am so very glad I did. Nothing about it has anything to do with country music.
In fact, it is quite a serious tale about two wounded people who have no reason whatsoever to like the other person, but who are trying hard to improve themselves and the lives of those around them. If that sounds like something you're in the mood for, then by all means, read on. Zoe Ferris and her two best friends won the jackpot. Jointly, they bought a lottery ticket and won.
And nothing has been the same since. But while Kit and Greer are learning to navigate the ropes of their new lives, Zoe is floundering. A successful lawyer, she finds herself in deep waters as she tries to make amends to a family involved in a settlement she worked on. Which is how she finds herself of Aiden O'Leary's doorstep, hat in hand. For his part, Aiden would like to see Zoe suffer for every dollar of the settlement money Zoe brought his parents' way.
In the wake of his twin brother's death, Aiden is alone and desperately trying to make something out of his suffering. If using Zoe is what it takes to do so, then so be it. And so Aiden convinces Zoe to pose as his fiance as part of his proposal to buy a wildness camp and turn it into a center for those struggling with addictions similar to the way his brother did.
Zoe sees it as the least she can do, though pretending to love the wildly closed off Aiden stretches even her ability to sell something. I expected something. I'm not sure what I thought this might be. But I can tell you, I was in no way dissatisfied with what I got. Zoe and Aiden are rather magnetic. We enter the story at their collective and individual low points.
Aiden is an EMT who isolates himself from his fellow colleagues and sees his dead brother's face in every body on the gurney. Zoe used to have everything effortlessly together, but one family's loss and a seemingly incongruent windfall of her own have thrown everything off kilter, and she can't find her way back. The two of them are in a bad way. And it's truly painful watching them try to put on a show for the owners of Aiden's precious campground. The contempt he holds for everything she represents, and the awkward way she forces herself to inhabit whatever role she thinks he wants her to is positively wretched.
Meanwhile, Zoe's friends are increasingly concerned about her, Aiden's co-workers can see how tattered he's becoming, and the whole thing seems bent on breaking. But then. Then Zoe's innate verve dislodges something inside Aiden, and he is able to see clearly just long enough to lose grip on his frozen demeanor and realize Zoe may not be something he wants or can afford to let go.
And that is when the humor and infectious happiness kick in. That is when things get real, in the best sense. And the whole thing leads up to one of the loveliest declarations I have had the pleasure of reading. I just. I had such a good time with this cast of characters, I immediately went and read the first book in the series after finishing this one. It, too, was a pleasure, and I am avidly looking forward to Greer's story in the third book, which is due out in November.
Kate Clayborn writes stories full of emotional intensity and vulnerability that manage to keep both her characters and her readers afloat. I recommend them. Mar 07, Gaufre rated it it was ok. Not so much here. The fake engagement trope exploded into utterly ridiculous territory. Everybody must be blind. And clueless. And crazy too. I usually forgive outrageous premises if they helped build a good conflict or interesting characters, but neither happened. The characters are not that interesting. Zoe is full of guilt from her lawyer job at Evil Firm and quit her job after winning the lottery.
It is tough for me to be interested in a person who does nothing all day and wallows in her own feelings. As Hanna recognizes, the defender of circumstantial luck can improve the counterfactual schema in various ways so as to try to avoid such counterexamples. But each improvement seems to simply bring a clever new apparent counterexample.
Perhaps counterfactuals simply cannot do the job being asked of them. Deniers of circumstantial and constitutive luck have various options in reply, however.
They can continue to seek another schema for the relevant counterfactuals, or identify a more fundamental feature of agents which give rise to counterfactuals that merely serve as evidence of such a feature without carrying all of the explanatory weight themselves. When one keeps all of these counterfactuals in view at the same time, it becomes much more intuitive that agents for whom an identical set of counterfactuals is true are indeed equally blameworthy or praiseworthy. See Zimmerman At this point, we again seem to reach a potential clash over intuitions.
Unfortunately, for these reasons…Jenny would collaborate if she were in Nazi-Germany-like conditions. It seems that a full adjudication of the debate will require a comparison of entire frameworks, including appeal to an even larger range of intuitions about cases, general moral principles, and explanatory power, among other things. Unlike Zimmerman, most of those who adopt the denial strategy do so only for certain sorts of moral luck.
As we will see, this very same challenge is also issued by those who take a diametrically opposed position and accept all forms of moral luck. Many commentators have read Williams as advocating the position that moral luck exists and is deeply threatening to morality. But in the Postscript, Williams makes a distinction between morality and ethics that allows him to deny the existence of moral luck, thus preserving a certain integrity for morality.
We must conclude, then, that there is a kind of value that competes with, if not trumps, moral value. It seems that morality can only insulate itself from luck at the expense of foregoing supreme value. Once we acknowledge this cost, we can keep morality intact although skeptical doubts about its ability to resist luck can still be raised , but we have lost our reason to care about it. Instead, Williams suggests, we should care about ethics , where ethics is understood to address the most general question of how we ought to live.
Questions can be raised about this line of reasoning. If there is not, then Williams has not shown that morality competes with, or is trumped by, some other value. From the other direction, we can ask whether Williams is right that morality loses its point if it is not the supreme source of value. The idea that we ought to care about ethics, understood as Williams does, finds inspiration in the work of Aristotle. Aristotle defends the idea that happiness consists in being a virtuous person over a complete life, and, in turn, the idea that being a virtuous person requires not only that one have virtuous qualities and dispositions, but also that one act on them.
Luck enters into the account in at least two ways. Second, the fact that being a virtuous person requires the performance of certain kinds of activities means that the world must cooperate in various ways in order for one to be truly virtuous, and so be truly happy. On one interpretation of Aristotle, luck enters into the account in yet a third way. According to this view, one must also have a minimum provision of external goods e. All of those who accept the existence of some type of moral luck reject the Control Principle and the Kantian conception of morality that embraces it.
As a result, they must either explain how we can revise our moral judgments and practices in a coherent way or show that we are not committed to the Control Principle in the first place. Some who accept luck argue that doing so requires a significant change in our moral practices. One question that might be raised here is whether we are left with enough of our ordinary conception of morality to include genuine notions of blame and responsibility.
Others suggest that the Control Principle does not have nearly the hold on us that Nagel and Williams assume, and that rejecting it would not change our practices in a significant way. Among these are some who focus on the free will debate and others who take on the broader problem of moral luck directly. A large group who accept moral luck do not explicitly address the problem of moral luck as so formulated because they focus on what Nagel identifies as a narrower issue, namely, that of free will.
One traditional problem of free will is posed by the following line of reasoning: if determinism is true, then no one can act freely, and, assuming that freedom is necessary for responsibility, no one can be responsible for their actions.
Compatibilists have argued that we can act freely and responsibly even if determinism is true. If, as some have argued, causal luck is exhausted by constitutive and circumstantial luck, then they also accept that there can be these sorts of moral luck, as well. The key move here is to distinguish between different kinds of factors over which one has no control. Interestingly, compatibilists are often silent on the question of resultant and circumstantial moral luck, although these forms of luck might represent an underutilized resource for them.
For if it turns out that the luck—or lack of control—delivered by determinism is but one source of luck among others, then determinism does not embody a unique obstacle to free will and responsibility, at least when it comes to control. This is to expand the application of a widely used compatibilist strategy to show that when it comes to causal luck, compatibilists are not alone.
For within the free will debate, compatibilists are not alone in accepting the existence of certain types of luck. Many libertarians assume that our actions are caused by prior events not themselves in our control in accordance with probabilistic laws of nature see, for example, Kane , , Nozick Given this view, it is natural to conclude that if determinism is false, there is at least one kind of luck in what sort of person one decides to be and so in what actions one performs.
That is, there is luck in the sense that there is no explanation as to why a person chose to be one way rather than another. And it appears that on the libertarian view in question, our choices are indeed subject to luck of this sort. See Pereboom and for a discussion of the similar burdens shared by compatibilists and this sort of libertarian. Only the agent-causal libertarians discussed above offer an account that aims specifically at eliminating a type of moral luck. See Levy for an argument that no account of free will can avoid challenges concerning luck.
It is also possible to argue that we are not committed to the Control Principle by taking on the problem of moral luck directly. One strategy is to argue that moral luck is only a problem for an overly idealized conception of human agency. But once we adopt a realistic conception of human agency, the problem evaporates.
In contrast, adopting a conception of morality that applies to human beings in all of their impurity will not be threatened by moral luck. According to Walker, the Control Principle is far from obvious, and we would not want to live in a world in which it held sway. The argument appears to rest on the idea that without moral luck, we would lack several virtues that allow us to help each other in most essential ways.
Our very reactions to moral luck can be virtuous. Thus, if we focus on our actual moral commitments, we will see that the Control Principle is neither attractive nor necessary for morality. It is not obvious that a world in which people denied the existence of moral luck would be as bleak as the one Walker envisions. For example, those who deny resultant moral luck can still agree that agents have an obligation to minimize their risks of doing harm, and those who deny circumstantial moral luck can still agree that agents have an obligation to cultivate qualities that prepare them to act well in whatever circumstances arise.
Adams adopts this strategy, drawing our attention to common practices, such as blaming people for their racist attitudes even if we do not think that such people are in control of their attitudes. But it is also possible to adopt the same sort of strategy for other sorts of luck, including resultant luck. Moore and , for example, points to the fact that we resent those who succeed in causing harm more than those who do not, we feel greater guilt when we ourselves cause harm, and when we face decisions, we feel that the consequences of matter to the moral quality of our choices.
According to Moore, the best explanation of these reactive attitudes, such as guilt and resentment, is that their objects are genuinely more blameworthy. Now opponents who deny the existence of moral luck have ways of explaining away these phenomena. On reflection, we can see that we ought to blame the racists only for their actions or omissions, not for the attitudes themselves over which they have no control.
Similarly, as we saw earlier, when it comes to resultant luck, moral luck skeptics have a variety of strong alternative explanations of our judgments and emotional responses. It is possible that there is a disagreement here at the level of intuitions: some find it easier on reflection to reject moral judgments that depend on results than others. Sverdlik argues that it is not obvious how such a challenge can be met.
At this point in the debate, those who accept moral luck offer ordinary judgments and responses in their defense, while moral luck skeptics offer alternative explanations of those practices and hold up the Control Principle itself, together with other reflective intuitive judgments, as reason to reject moral luck. We seem to have something of a stalemate. So it is no surprise that those who accept moral luck tend not to rely exclusively on ordinary judgments to make their case, but rather go on to try to undermine the Control Principle in other ways. Another way of trying to undermine the appeal of the Control Principle itself is to show how it might be mistaken for something else that is more plausible.
But this requirement is more general than a strict requirement of control, and although easily confused with the Control Principle, is superior to it, on this view. Adopting the same general strategy, Moore identifies still other principles with which the Control Principle might be confused. For example, consider two would-be murderers, one of whom fires his gun and hits his target, and the other of whom fires in the same way, from the same distance, and so on, but whose bullet is deflected by an unexpected and unusually strong wind. Thus, according to Moore, there is no contradiction in our everyday commitments.
Now those who think we are naturally drawn to the Control Principle can respond by pointing out both the intuitive plausibility of the principle in the abstract and the cases described earlier that seem to support it. They might also accept that Adams and Moore have pointed out further necessary conditions for responsibility, while still maintaining that the Control Principle is true. Michael Otsuka offers yet another principle in place of the Control Principle: One is only blameworthy in cases in which one had the kind of control that would have allowed one to be entirely blameless.
For example, in the case of the two assassins, both are blameworthy, but, Otsuka argues, the one who hits and kills his target is more blameworthy. But if one assumes a risk by knowingly and freely driving recklessly, and, as a result, one kills a dog, then one is blameworthy. And, further, one might be more blameworthy in the case in which one kills the dog than in the case in which one takes the same risk but luckily reaches home without hitting anything. The parallel to option and brute luck is suggestive, but a defender of the unqualified Control principle has resources here. Appealing to the distinction between scope and degree, one might grant that the reckless driver is, importantly, responsible for more things including a death , but not more blameworthy.
In fact, the parallel to the treatment of option luck in the debate about distributive justice may fit best if we are interested in what we are responsible for , rather than how responsible we are. Further, we have seen reason to think that on reflection we should not blame one reckless driver more than another. But even if we accept this premise, we might conclude that while it is understandable that one dog owner would be more resentful than the first, more resentment is not actually justified.
This observation takes us back to the subtle nature of the dialectic. In adjudicating this debate between those defending the Control Principle and those defending alternative principles, we can ask just how much weight should be given to our natural reactions to cases, and, in particular, to our reactive attitudes, such as resentment and guilt. At least in some cases, these can be tempered when we reflect explicitly on key features of cases, and our initial responses can be revised in light of these reflections, together with reflection on general principles.
Notably, there has recently been an attempt by philosophers to appeal to results from empirical psychology to explain away some set of intuitions or other, and this strategy has been applied in the area of moral luck in particular. For some examples, see Domsky and Royzman and Kumar whose explanations in different ways support the preservation of our adherence to the Control Principle, and see Enoch and Guttel for a reply to both. Psychologists and experimental philosophers have also simply tried to offer explanations of our intuitions, particularly of ones that appear to conflict as we find in the debate about moral luck.
In an interesting set of studies, Kneer and Machery found that when participants were asked for comparative judgments about pairs of scenarios, varying only in outcome, they tended to offer anti-moral luck responses, judging agents in both scenarios equally blameworthy.
However, Kneer and Machinery found that the differences in judgments in these cases was nearly entirely mediated by a disproportionate attribution of negligence to the agents in the harmful scenarios, suggesting the possibility that, when presented only with one scenario, participants read backwards from harm to a morally significant attribution of features in the agents.
If this is correct, then it may not be outcome per se that provides the grounds of differential judgments, but, rather, a distinct morally salient feature of agents that is often associated with outcome. It is worth noting, however, as several of these authors do themselves, that even if we were confident in our possession of psychological explanations of our intuitions, there would still be philosophical work to do to sort out what the normative facts are.
But it is helpful to have a growing body of systematic studies of intuitive reactions to scenarios involving moral luck, as well as investigation into the features of cases people find salient. There is a final argument in favor of the acceptance of moral luck of a very different kind that might ultimately help decide the issue in one direction or the other.
It explicitly encompasses every kind of luck and thus poses a deep and difficult challenge to moral luck skeptics, particularly the large group who focus exclusively on resultant luck. The main idea is that rejecting resultant luck, but not other sorts of luck, is an unstable position e. In a nutshell, one cannot find a principled place to draw the line at refusing to accept moral luck. Begin by observing that we lack control over everything: the results of our actions, our circumstances, our constitution, and our causal history.
If we are to avoid moral skepticism, then we must accept moral luck in some areas, and if we do that, then we ought to accept it in the area of results. Particularly if we accept that we are not predisposed to accept the Control Principle in the first place, then we ought to accept luck in all areas, thereby avoiding moral skepticism. Hartman offers a version of this strategy that is explicitly analogical pp. Consider three agents who all form the intention and plan to carry out a murder. Each has a single opportunity to pull the trigger of a gun.
Sneezy sneezes and so is unable to pull the trigger; Off-Target pulls the trigger, but the bullet is intercepted by a bird, and Bulls-Eye pulls the trigger and hits her target. By hypothesis, there is circumstantial luck, so, claims Hartman, Sneezy is less blameworthy than Off-Target, even though she would have pulled the trigger had her allergies not acted up. But given the parallels between Sneezy and Off-Target same intentions, plans, and so on are similar to the parallels between Off-Target and Bulls-Eye, we have analogical evidence that Off-Target is less blameworthy than Bulls-Eye.
We should accept moral luck where it is necessary for making the practice of attributing responsibility possible, but given that it is necessary in the case of circumstantial luck and not in the case of results luck, we can draw a principled line between the two pairs of cases. Hartman takes it that what is really needed here is that we ought to accept moral luck only if it is needed for our practices of attribution, but also suggest that it that this begs the question in the context at least without further defense. Another reply is that accepting circumstantial luck does not require accepting that it makes a difference everywhere, and that indeed Sneezy and Off-Target are themselves equally blameworthy.
Thus, the analogical argument does not get off the ground with this set of cases. And yet if we turn to a different set of cases, such as the case of Jenny described earlier, who lives in a utopian world but would have collaborated with the Nazis, where the intuition of differential degrees of blameworthiness is stronger, the analogy becomes much weaker. Nevertheless, the general line of argument poses a challenge for anyone who wishes to draw a line, accepting some kinds of moral luck and not others.
Now even if no one has adequately defended a way of drawing a line between different sorts of luck, it is not obvious that the door has been closed on all future attempts. Thus, one way of seeing this argument is as a shift-the-burden one. Those who wish to draw a line between different sorts of moral luck must offer a deeper rationale for doing so than has yet been offered. According to this approach, it is simply incoherent to accept or deny the existence of some type s of moral luck. This approach has been used for constitutive luck in particular.
For one could argue that this would amount to saying that a person is a self-creator. And in fact the Control Principle, taken to its logical extreme, seems to lead to just such a requirement see, e. If it turns out that self-creation is conceptually impossible as many argue e. Luck can be good or bad. This is clearly true of relational luck. Moreover, one and the same event can be both good and bad luck for an agent, which plausibly has to do with the fact that two or more interests of the agent are at stake—Ballantyne To put it differently, if we interpret that sort of attributions as conveying good or bad luck, it is probably because we read them as denoting such relationship.
At any rate, accounting for why luck is good or bad is a desideratum at least for analyses of relational luck. This is done mainly for the sake of simplicity. Luck is to some extent a vague notion. Not all instances of luck are as clear-cut as a lottery win. For example, goals from the corner kick in professional soccer matches are considered neither clearly lucky nor clearly produced by skill.
Pritchard gives another example: if someone drops her wallet, keeps walking and after five minutes realizes that she just lost her wallet, returns to the place where she dropped it and finds it, is that person lucky to have found her wallet? The answer is not clear. Accordingly, we should not expect an analysis of luck to remove this vagueness. On the contrary, an adequate account should predict borderline cases, that is, cases that are neither clearly lucky nor clearly non-lucky.
This is a desideratum for accounts not only of relational luck but also of non-relational luck. Luck is a gradual notion.
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In ordinary parlance, it is common to attribute different degrees of luck to different events. For example, winning one million dollars playing roulette is luckier than winning one dollar, even if the odds are the same. Interestingly, winning the prize of an ordinary lottery is luckier than winning the same amount of money by tossing a coin, that is, when the odds are lower. An adequate analysis of luck should be also able to account for these different differences in degree. Again, this concerns accounts of relational luck as well as of non-relational luck.
Several atomic nuclei joining and triggering off an explosion is an event that is neither lucky nor unlucky for anyone if it happens at the other end of the galaxy. But it is bad luck if the explosion takes place nearby. One way to account for the difference in luckiness is that while the former event is not significant to anyone, the latter is significant to whoever is nearby. Cases like this motivate philosophers who theorize about the concept of luck to endorse a significance condition , that is, a requirement to the effect that an event is lucky for an agent only if the event is significant to the agent.
Although there is a wide agreement that an adequate analysis of relational luck must include a significance condition, there is a significant disagreement on its specific formulation. Pritchard —3 formulates the significance condition as follows:. S1: An event E is lucky for an agent S only if S would ascribe significance to E , were S to be availed of the relevant facts.
S1 requires that lucky agents have the capacity to ascribe significance. But that is problematic insofar as the condition prevents sentient nonhuman beings Coffman and human beings with diminished capacities like newborns or comatose adults Ballantyne from being lucky. Coffman proposes an alternative significance condition in terms of the positive or negative effect of lucky events on the agent :.
S2: An event E is lucky for an agent S only if i S is sentient and ii E has some objective evaluative status for S —that is, E has some objectively good or bad, positive or negative, effect on S. Ballantyne gives a counterexample to S2 by arguing, first, that ii should be read as follows:.
With that in place, the counterexample to S2 goes as follows: an unlucky man has no inkling that scientists have randomly selected him to put his brain in a vat to feed his neural connections with real-world experiences. In particular, most of them turn out false, which seems to be objectively negative for the man, just as S2 requires. S3: An event E is lucky for an agent S only if i S has a subjective or objective interest N and ii E has some objectively positive or negative effect on N —in the sense that E is good or bad for S.
S3 is more specific than S2 in the kind of attributes that are supposed to be positively or negatively affected by lucky events. While S2 does not say whether these need to be the qualitative states of sentient beings, or their representational states, or their physical condition, S3 is explicit that what lucky events affect are the subjective and objective interests of individuals. Leaving aside the question of what the correct formulation of the significance condition is, it is interesting to see how a significance condition can help explain the three general features of luck outlined above, that is, the goodness, badness, vagueness, and gradualness of luck.
Concerning goodness and badness, the explanation is straightforward: luck is good or bad because the significance that lucky events have for people is positive or negative. Concerning vagueness, significance is a vague concept, so including a significance condition in an analysis of luck at least does not remove its inherent vagueness. Concerning gradualness, it can be argued that the degree of luck of an event proportionally varies with its significance or value—Latus , Levy 36 , Rescher —12; Consider the previous example of winning one million dollars playing roulette versus winning one dollar when the probability of winning is the same: it can be simply argued that the former event is luckier than the latter because it is more significant.
Paradigmatic lucky events—for example, winning a fair lottery—typically occur by chance. In addition, they typically include a significance condition to explain why events are lucky for agents. For discussion purposes, the analyses of luck below will be presented as analyses of significant events, so the relevant significance condition can be omitted.
OP1: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if, prior to the occurrence of E at t , there was low probability that E would occur at t. OP1 says that lucky events are events whose occurrence was not objectively likely. A related way to formulate a probabilistic view—suggested by Baumann —is by means of conditional objective probabilities :.
OP2: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if, prior to the occurrence of E at t , there was low objective probability conditional on C that E would occur at t. C is whatever condition one uses to determine the probability that the event will occur. For example, the unconditional probability that Lionel Messi will score a goal in the soccer match is high but given C —the fact that he is injured—the probability that he will score is low.
Suppose that Messi ends up scoring by luck. The condition helps explain why: he was injured and therefore it was not very likely that we would score. According to Hales , probabilistic views of luck such as OP1 or OP2 are the most widespread among scientists and mathematicians. But they face at least two problems. First, a dominant—although not undisputed—idea is that necessary truths have probability 1. In view of it, Hales argues that probabilistic analyses cannot account for lucky necessities , which are maximally probable.
For example, he contends that organisms—humans included—are lucky to be alive because the gravitational constant, G, is the one that actually is, but the probability that G made life possible is 1. Second, another problem for probabilistic accounts is that, although rare, there are highly probable lucky events , that is, lucky events whose occurrence is highly probable—see Broncano-Berrocal Suppose that someone is the most wanted person in the galaxy and that billions of mercenaries are trying to kill her, but also that her combat skills drastically reduce the probability that each independent assassination attempt will succeed.
Suppose that one such an attempt succeeds for completely fortuitous reasons that have nothing to do with the exercise of her skills. That she is killed is obviously bad luck, but it was also very probable given how many mercenaries were trying to kill her: even if each killing attempt had low probability to succeed, the probability that at least one would succeed was high given the number of independent attempts—that is, the probability of the disjunction of all attempts was high.
This shows, contrary to what OP1 and OP2 say, that luck does not entail low probability of occurrence. OP1 and OP2 are analyses of synchronic luck. McKinnon ; proposes a probabilistic account of diachronic luck instead. By way of illustration, the expected ratio of flipping a coin is 50 percent tails and 50 percent heads. However, in real life series of tosses or free-throws shots the outcomes typically deviate from those values. In the light of these considerations, McKinnon proposes the following view:. OP3: For any series A of events E 1, E 2, …, En that are significant to an agent S and for any objective expected ratio N of outcomes for events of type E , S is lucky proportionally to how much the actual ratio of outcomes in A deviates from N.
If the actual ratio is as expected, the ratio is fully attributable to skill. In other words, we can know whether we are diachronically lucky, but not whether we are synchronically lucky. Before turning to a different type of probabilistic accounts, let us see how accounts modeling luck in terms of objective probability explain the three general features of luck outlined above.
On the one hand, they can explain why luck is a gradual notion in a natural way. For instance, Rescher —12; thinks that luck varies with not only significance but also chance. If S is the value or significance of an event E , how lucky E is can be determined, according to Rescher, as follows:. In other words, Rescher thinks that luck varies proportionally with the value or significance that the event has for the agent and inversely proportionally with the probability of its occurrence.
On the other hand, defenders of objective probabilistic views might in principle explain why luck is vague notion in epistemic terms. Finally, as we have seen, McKinnon thinks that her view also helps explain why luck is good or bad: luck is good or bad depending on whether the actual deviation from the expected ratio is positive or negative. More precisely:.
The Deceptions of Luck
SP1: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if, just before the occurrence of E at t , S had a low degree of belief that E would occur at t. SP1 and SP2 characterize luck as a perspectival notion : if for A but not for B it is subjectively improbable that an event E will occur, then, if E occurs, E is lucky for A but not for B —Latus endorses this thesis. For example, suppose that someone receives a big check from a secret benefactor. In addition, those who firmly believe in fate or whose evidence strongly points to its existence are never lucky according to these views, because everything that happens to them is highly probable from their perspective.
Stoutenburg gives a similar evidential account of degrees of luck. A problem for views such as SP1, SP2, and SP3 is that events are no less lucky if we have no evidence or have not thought about them—see Steglich-Petersen For example, someone would be clearly lucky if, unbeknownst to her, a bullet just missed her head by centimeters. SP4: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if, for all S knew just before the occurrence of E at t , there was low probability that E would occur at t. SP4 is compatible with an event being lucky for the agent when she has no prior evidence or doxastic state about its occurrence.
But SP4 might still not yield the right results. Consider a macabre lottery in which all the participants have been poisoned and the only way to survive is to win the prize, which is the antidote. The lottery draw is a fair one, so surviving is a pure matter of chance. Suppose that the only difference in knowledge between two participants, A and B , is that only A knows of herself that has been poisoned and is a participant of the lottery. For all A knows, there is low probability that she will survive. In contrast, for all B knows, her survival is very likely—she is a healthy person and has no reason to think that she has been poisoned.
According to SP4, B would not be lucky if she won the lottery and survived as a result. Intuitively, however, A and B would be equally lucky if they won the lottery. In general, this and other cases might be taken to illustrate that what is apparently lucky does not always coincide with what is actually lucky—see Rescher for the distinction between apparent and actual luck.
A potential problem for subjective views is then that they might be only capturing intuitions about the former. Steglich-Petersen advances a different account, which is not probabilistic in nature, but which is worth considering in this section, not only because it is a natural development of SP4, but also because, like SP2, SP3, and SP4, it characterizes luck as an epistemic notion.
SP5: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if, just before the occurrence of E at t , S was not in a position to know that E would occur at t. Steglich-Petersen explains that we are in a position to know that an event will occur if, by taking up the belief that the event will occur, we thereby know that it will occur. SP5 yields the correct result in the macabre lottery case, which was troublesome for SP4. None of the participants is in a position to know that they would win the lottery and survive as a result.
For that reason, the winner is lucky. However, SP5 might not capture the intuitions of other cases correctly. Suppose that someone is the holder of a ticket in a fair lottery. During the lottery draw, a Laplacian demon predicts and tells that person that she will be the winner, so she comes to know in advance—and therefore is in a position to know—that she will be the winner.
However, that person is not less lucky to win the lottery because of that knowledge or because of being in that position. After all, it is still a coincidence that she has purchased the ticket that corresponds to the accurate prediction of the demon. In sum, knowing that one will be lucky—and therefore being in a position to know it—does not necessarily prevent one from being lucky.
Before considering an alternative approach to luck, let us see how subjective probabilistic accounts explain the three general features of luck presented at the beginning of the article. On the one hand, they can account for degrees of luck in terms of degrees of subjective probability. As we have seen, SP3 says that an agent is increasingly lucky with respect to an event the less likely the occurrence of the event—conditional on her evidence—is. On the other hand, advocates of the subjective approach might explain borderline cases of luck by appealing to the fact that the relevant subjective probabilities are not always transparent, so if we cannot determine whether an event is lucky or non-lucky, it is plausibly because the relevant subjective probabilities cannot be determined either.
Finally, to explain why luck is good or bad defenders of subjective accounts can simply include a significance condition on luck in their analyses. A different approach to luck emphasizes the fact that paradigmatic instances of luck such as lottery wins could have easily failed to occur. Modal accounts accordingly explain luck in terms of the notion of easy possibility. As usual in areas of philosophy where the notion of possibility is invoked, advocates of the modal approach use possible worlds terminology to explain that notion and in turn the concept of luck.
In this sense, that a lucky event could have easily not occurred means that, although it occurs in the actual world, it would fail to occur in close possible worlds. Closeness is simply assumed to be a function of how intuitively similar possible worlds are to the actual world. For example, if an event E occurs at time t in the actual world, close possible worlds can be obtained by making a small change to the actual world at t and by seeing what happens to E at t or at times close to t —see Coffman ; for relevant discussion.
One should keep in mind that although current modal views are closeness views, it is in principle possible to give a modal account of luck that ranges over distant possible worlds. In the literature, there can be found several formulations of modal conditions on luck, where the main point of disagreement concerns the proportion of close possible worlds in which an event needs not occur in order for its actual occurrence to be by luck.
For discussion purposes, however, those conditions will be presented here as if they constituted full-fledged analyses of luck, but it is important to keep in mind that modal conditions are typically considered necessary but not sufficient for a significant event to be by luck. A prominent exception is Pritchard , who is the only author in the literature advocating a pure modal account of luck—in more recent work , he drops the significance condition from his analysis, plausibly because he is mainly interested in giving an account of non-relational luck.
Also for discussion purposes, the analyses of luck below will be presented, as before, as analyses of significant events. Without further ado, let us consider the following modal account by Pritchard :. M1: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if E occurs in the actual world at t but does not occur at t or at times close to t in a wide proportion of close possible worlds in which the relevant initial conditions for E are the same as in the actual world.
According to M1, one is lucky to win a fair lottery because in a wide class of close possible worlds one would lose. M1 has two important features. The first one is that it does not consider any close possible world relevant to determine whether an event is lucky or not: only those in which the relevant initial conditions are the same as in the actual world. According to Pritchard , the relevant initial conditions for an event are specific enough to allow a correct assessment of the luckiness of the target event, but not so specific as to guarantee its occurrence.
Nonetheless, Pritchard leaves as a contextual matter what features of the actual world need to be fixed in our evaluation of close possible worlds. For instance, when we assess the modal profile of lottery results, we typically keep fixed features such as the fairness and the odds of the lottery or the fact that one has decided to purchase a specific lottery number. Riggs argues that M1 is defective precisely because there is no non-arbitrary way to fix the relevant initial conditions.
In reply, Pritchard argues that an analysis of a concept should not be more precise than the concept that the analysis intends to account for. Given that luck is a vague notion, the somewhat vague clause on initial conditions might be after all doing some explanatory work.
The second important feature of M1 is that it requires that the lucky event fails to occur in a wide proportion of close possible worlds. However, there are clearly lucky events, such as obtaining heads by flipping a coin, that would not occur in a large proportion of close possible worlds—since the probability of heads is 0. Perhaps, the following slightly different formulation is to be preferred—see Coffman :.
M2: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if E occurs in the actual world at t but does not occur at t or at times close to t in at least half the close possible worlds in which the relevant initial conditions for E are the same as in the actual world. However, Levy 17—18 argues that if we accept that an event that does not occur in half the close possible worlds is lucky, we can also accept that an event that does not occur in little less than half the close possible worlds—for example, in 49 percent of them—is lucky as well.
Instead, Levy argues that there is no fixed proportion of close possible worlds where an event must not occur to be considered lucky in the actual world. According to Levy, what makes the threshold vary from case to case is the significance that the event has for the agent. M3: A significant event E is lucky for an agent S at time t if only if E occurs in the actual world at t but does not occur at t or at times close to t in a large enough proportion of close possible worlds in which the relevant initial conditions for E are the same as in the actual world, where the relevant proportion of close possible worlds is determined by the significance that E has for S.
Lackey raises two important objections to the modal approach.