The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck

ISBN 9780815366591
Published February 25, 2019 by Routledge
486 Pages

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Book Description

Luck permeates our lives, and this raises a number of pressing questions: What is luck? When we attribute luck to people, circumstances, or events, what are we attributing? Do we have any obligations to mitigate the harms done to people who are less fortunate? And to what extent is deserving praise or blame affected by good or bad luck? Although acquiring a true belief by an uneducated guess involves a kind of luck that precludes knowledge, does all luck undermine knowledge? The academic literature has seen growing, interdisciplinary interest in luck, and this volume brings together and explains the most important areas of this research. It consists of 39 newly commissioned chapters, written by an internationally acclaimed team of philosophers and psychologists, for a readership of students and researchers. Its coverage is divided into six sections:

I: The History of Luck

II: The Nature of Luck

III: Moral Luck

IV: Epistemic Luck

V: The Psychology of Luck

VI: Future Research.

The chapters cover a wide range of topics, from the problem of moral luck, to anti-luck epistemology, to the relationship between luck attributions and cognitive biases, to meta-questions regarding the nature of luck itself, to a range of other theoretical and empirical questions. By bringing this research together, the Handbook serves as both a touchstone for understanding the relevant issues and a first port of call for future research on luck.

Table of Contents

Section I: History of Luck

  1. Nafsika Athanassoulis: Aristotle on Constitutive, Developmental, and Resultant Moral Luck
  2. Sarah Broadie: Aristotle on Luck, Happiness, and Solon’s Dictum
  3. René Brouwer: The Stoics on Luck
  4. Jeffrey Hause: Thomas Aquinas on Moral Luck
  5. Kate Moran: Immanuel Kant on Moral Luck
  6. Craig Smith: Adam Smith on Moral Luck and the Invisible Hand
  7. Piers Norris Turner: John Stuart Mill on Luck and Distributive Justice
  8. Dani Rabinowitz: History of Luck in Epistemology
  9. Andrew Latus: Thomas Nagel and Bernard Williams on Moral Luck
  10. Section II: The Nature of Luck

  11. Duncan Pritchard: Modal Accounts of Luck
  12. Wayne Riggs: The Lack of Control Account of Luck
  13. Nicholas Rescher: The Probability Account of Luck
  14. Rik Peels: The Mixed Account of Luck
  15. Nathan Ballantyne & Samuel Kampa: Luck and Significance
  16. Fernando Broncano-Berrocal: Luck as Risk
  17. Rachel Mckinnon: Luck and Norms
  18. Section III: Moral Luck

  19. Daniel Statman: The Definition of ‘Luck’ and the Problem of Moral Luck
  20. Carolina Sartorio: Kinds of Moral Luck
  21. Michael J. Zimmerman: Denying Moral Luck
  22. Robert J. Hartman: Accepting Moral Luck
  23. Laura W. Ekstrom: Luck and Libertarianism
  24. Mirja Pérez de Calleja: Luck and Compatibilism
  25. Section IV: Epistemic Luck

  26. Ian M. Church: The Gettier Problem
  27. Benjamin Jarvis: The Problem of Environmental Luck
  28. Tim Black: Anti-Luck Epistemology
  29. Stephen Hetherington: The Luck/Knowledge Incompatibility Thesis
  30. John Greco: Luck and Skepticism
  31. J. Adam Carter: Epistemic Luck and the Extended Mind
  32. Section V: The Psychology of Luck

  33. Steven D. Hales & Jennifer Adrienne Johnson: Cognitive Biases and Dispositions in Luck Attributions
  34. Karl Halvor Teigen: Luck and Risk
  35. Sabine Roeser: Emotional Responses to Luck, Risk and Uncertainty
  36. Anastasia Ejova: The Illusion of Control
  37. Matthew D. Smith & Piers Worth: Positive Psychology and Luck Experiences
  38. Section VI: Future Research

  39. J. D. Trout: Luck in Science
  40. Joe Milburn & Edouard Machery: The Philosophy of Luck and Experimental Philosophy
  41. Ori J. Herstein: Legal Luck
  42. Carolyn McLeod & Jody Tomchishen: Feminist Approaches to Moral Luck
  43. Guy Axtell: The New Problem of Religious Luck
  44. Jordan Wessling: Theology and Luck


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Ian M. Church is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hillsdale College. He is the co-author (with Peter Samuelson) of Intellectual Humility: An Introduction to the Philosophy & Science (2017).

Robert J. Hartman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Lund-Gothenburg Responsibility Project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is the author of In Defense of Moral Luck: Why Luck Often Affects Praiseworthiness and Blameworthiness (2017).



"This is an essential guidebook for anyone whose work engages conceptual or empirical questions about luck and related phenomena. It will be of great interest and use to anyone working in epistemology, philosophy of action, ethics, social and political philosophy, and the history of philosophy. This comprehensive volume boasts a long list of first-class contributors – Church and Hartman deserve hearty thanks and congratulations."

--E.J. Coffman, The University of Tennessee   


"Debates about luck are central to a range of philosophical debates, from epistemology to free will. This impressive volume presents the state of art across this range, and extends it into new areas. It will be a central reference point for years to come."

--Neil Levy, Macquarie University