Luck, evidence and war

Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (3):247–257 (2006)
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abstract We seem to have conflicting intuitions regarding luck and war, and we seem to be faced with a dilemma. Either, we deny that a war can be made just or unjust as a result of luck, and we accept that we should not appeal to the outcome when claiming that the war was or was not justified. Or, alternatively, we allow that it is legitimate to base our judgements on the outcome, but as a result we must accept that luck can make a war just or unjust. Traditionally, these have been taken to be the two forks of the dilemma, but, in this paper, I argue that they are not the only options. Rather, we can appeal to the outcome of our actions without claiming that this is, in anyway, an appeal to moral luck. Rather, the outcome provides us with evidence.



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Rob Lawlor
University of Leeds

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