“On my way down to the elevator I release a trash bag down the chute from my high rise condo. Presumably, I know my bag will soon be in the basement. But what if, having been released, it still (incredibly) were not to arrive there? That presumably would be because it had been snagged somehow in the chute on the way down (an incredibly rare occurrence), or some such happenstance.”
The happenstance under examination was posited by professor Ernest Sosa in his article ‘Contextualism and Skepticism’ (Noûs, Volume 34, pages 1–18, October 2000 ). It has been suggested that the so-called ‘Trash Chute’ example (‘Rubbish-Chute’ in the UK) can be used to illustrate the concept of Anti-Luck (AL).
Many would agree that if the trash bag didn’t arrive, it would be a highly unusual (and unlucky) event. Or, put another way, might the transit of the trash have been affected by Anti Luck? In the ten years since Sosa’s example, many philosophers have continued the investigation of AL – e.g. Duncan Pritchard , Chair in Epistemology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (pictured at right). In his paper Anti-luck epistemology (Synthese, Volume 158, Number 3, 277-297, Oct. 2007) he examines the ramifications of the idea in considerable depth.
“. . . imagine, for example, that there is a snag in the chute that the bag is almost snagging on each time.“
In that case, the seemingly reliable arrival of the garbage in the basement would (unbeknownst to Sosa) actually be quite a lucky occurrence. Other examples reference the luck (or Anti Luck) of target-hitting professional archers (who aren’t lucky, but skilful), lottery winners (who are lucky rather than skilful) and, especially, chicken sexers (who may or may not be lucky or skilful).
For full details, the entire paper may be found here :