What's luck got to do with the Luck Pincer?

Jesse HILL*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Luck skepticism is the view that no one is ever morally responsible for anything because of the nature and ubiquity of luck. One acclaimed argument in favor of this view is Neil Levy's luck pincer. The luck pincer holds that all morally significant acts or events involve either present luck, constitutive luck, or both and that present and constitutive luck each negate moral responsibility. Therefore, no one is ever morally responsible for any action or event. I argue that this argument is unsound as both of its premises are false. First, not all morally significant events involve present or constitutive luck. Some morally significant events are non-lucky. Second, present and constitutive luck do not always negate moral responsibility. Luck – independent of ontological concerns – is not as threatening to free will as is often thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-858
Number of pages22
JournalPacific Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 University of Southern California and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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