Succeeding Competently: Towards and Anti-Luck Condition for Achievement (Canadian Journal of Philosophy)

Abstract: Achievements are among the things that make a life good. To assess the plausibility of this intuitive claim, we need an account of the nature of achievements. One necessary condition for achievement appears to be that the achieving agent acted competently, i.e. was not just lucky. I begin by critically assessing existing accounts of anti-luck conditions for achievements in both the ethics and epistemology literature. My own proposal is that a goal is reached competently (and thus an achievement), only if the actions of the would-be-achiever make success likely, and that this is the reason why she acts that way.
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On Being Difficult: Towards an Account of the Nature of Difficulty (PhilStudies)

Abstract: This paper critically assesses existing accounts of the nature of difficulty, finds them wanting, and proposes a new account. The concept of difficulty is routinely invoked in debates regarding degrees of moral responsibility, and the value of achievement. Until recently, however, there has not been any sustained attempt to provide an account of the nature of difficulty itself. This has changed with Gwen Bradford’s Achievement, which argues that difficulty is a matter of how much intense effort is expended. But while this account captures something important about the relationship between difficulty and achievement, it fails to account for the fact that part of what makes achievements great is that they are difficult in a moderately agent-neutral kind of way. Nor is this thought captured by any other extant account. I argue that to fill this gap we should think of difficulty in terms of low probability of success.
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Effort and Achievement (Utilitas)

Abstract: Achievements have recently begun to attract increased attention from value theorists. One recurring idea in this budding literature is that one important factor determining the magnitude or value of an achievement is the amount of effort the achiever invested. The aim of this paper is to present the most plausible version of this idea. This advances the current state of debate where authors are invoking substantially different notions of effort and are thus talking past each other. While the concept of effort has been invoked in the philosophical analysis of a number of important concepts such as desert, attention, competence, and distributive justice, it has hardly ever been analyzed itself. This paper makes headway in this regard by discussing three ambiguities in the everyday notion of effort. It continues to develop two accounts of effort and shows how both of them are achievement-enhancing.
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