Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sometimes people are unfortunate in ways which facilitate their success ‐ and happiness. This creates the perplexity whether someone can be said to have been unfortunate, if an apparent misfortune has been, overall, beneficial to his or her life. I argue that whether something is a misfortune cannot be determined in itself, even in seemingly obvious cases. It depends also upon what one makes of it, what it makes of one. In short, it depends upon what happens later. People cannot claim to have suffered a misfortune for which they are to be pitied or compensated, when this ‘misfortune’ is crucial in having made them what they are, what they are happy to be. Hard determinism aside, the notion of ‘fortunate misfortune’ lacks, however, an easy parallel in ‘unfortunate good‐fortune’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-163
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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