LCAL: An event is lucky for a given agent, S, if and only [if] the occurrence of such an event is beyond—or at least significantly beyond—S’s control.
[s]uppose that I walk into my kitchen, toast a bagel, and eat it with cream cheese. When my husband comes home ten minutes later, my eating a toasted bagel with cream cheese ten minutes earlier is an event that he neither had control over (he wasn’t home) nor was sufficiently responsible for (he had nothing to do with my eating the bagel in question). But is it lucky for him that I ate a toasted bagel with cream cheese? If so, it is clearly not in any interesting sense of luck. Countless cases of this sort abound: my neighbor’s playing a computer game right now, my cat’s sleeping this afternoon, a chef’s making eggplant parmesan in Florence today, and numerous other ordinary or mundane events are out of my control at this moment. Yet to regard all of these events as lucky, as proponents of the LCAL must do, is surely to miss something important to the concept of luck.
DEMOLITION WORKER: Ramona is a demolition worker, about to press a button that will blow up an old abandoned warehouse, thereby completing a project that she and her coworkers have been working on for several weeks. Unbeknownst to her, however, a mouse had chewed through the relevant wires in the construction office an hour earlier, severing the connection between the button and the explosives. But as Ramona is about to press the button, her co-worker hangs his jacket on a nail in the precise location of the severed wires, which radically deviates from his usual routine of hanging his clothes in the office closet. As it happens, the hanger on which the jacket is hanging is made of metal, and it enables the electrical current to pass through the damaged wires just as Ramona presses the button and demolishes the warehouse.
(L1) If an event is lucky, then it is an event that occurs in the actual world but whichdoes not occur in a wide class of the nearest possible worlds where the relevantinitial conditions for that event are the same as in the actual world [Pritchard 2005:128].(L2) If an event is lucky, then it is an event that is significant to the agent concerned(or would be significant, were the agent to be availed of the relevant facts) [Pritchard2005: 132].
BURIED TREASURE: Sophie, knowing that she had very little time left to live, wanted to bury a chest filled with all of her earthly treasures on the island she inhabited. As she walked around trying to determine the best site for proper burial, her central criteria were, first, that a suitable location must be on the northwest corner of the island—where she had spent many of her fondest moments in life—and, second, that it had to be a spot where rose bushes could flourish—since these were her favorite flowers. As it happens, there was only one particular patch of land on the northwest corner of the island where the soil was rich enough for roses to thrive. Sophie, being excellent at detecting such soil, immediately located this patch of land and buried her treasure, along with seeds for future roses to bloom, in the one and only spot that fulfilled her two criteria.One month later, Vincent, a distant neighbor of Sophie’s, was driving in thenorthwest corner of the island—which was also his most beloved place to visit—and was looking for a place to plant a rose bush in memory of his mother who had died ten years earlier—since these were her favorite flowers. Being excellent at detecting the proper soil for rose bushes to thrive, he immediately located the same patch of land that Sophie had found one month earlier. As he began digging a hole for the bush, he was astonished to discover a buried treasure in the ground.