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A statistical analysis of luck

  • Isaac Wilhelm


A modal analysis of luck, due to Duncan Pritchard, has become quite popular in recent years. There are many reasons to like Pritchard’s analysis, but at least two compelling problems have been identified. So I propose an alternative analysis of luck based on the laws of statistical mechanics. The statistical analysis avoids the two problems facing Pritchard’s analysis, and it has many other attractive features.


Luck Epistemology Probability Philosophy of science Statistical mechanics 



Thanks to David Black, Laura Callahan, Sam Carter, Eddy Chen, Jill North, Duncan Pritchard, Jonathan Schaffer, Ernie Sosa, Dean Zimmerman, the audience in Harry Crane‘s “Foundations of Probability” seminar, two anonymous referees, and especially David Albert and Barry Loewer for many helpful comments. This paper was made possible by the generous support of a Society of Christian Philosophers’ GSCT grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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