When Is a Belief True Because of Luck?
Date of Issue2013-07
School of Art, Design and Media
Many epistemologists are attracted to the claim that knowledge possession excludes luck. Virtue epistemologists attempt to clarify this idea by holding that knowledge requires apt belief: belief that is true because of an agent's epistemic virtues, and not because of luck. Thinking about aptness may have the potential to make progress on important questions in epistemology, but first we must possess an adequate account of when a belief is true because of luck. Existing treatments of aptness assume a simple and natural view of luck attribution, according to which the success of a performance is attributable to luck if one of the principal causes of the success is a lucky event. I show that this view is false, and should be replaced. This has major implications for virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge, as well as the role of luck in epistemology more generally.
The Philosophical Quarterly
© 2013 The Author The Philosophical Quarterly. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by The Philosophical Quarterly, The Author The Philosophical Quarterly. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9213.12037].