Beard, M. (2011). Human Dependency as Luck: Some insights on human relationships. Australasian Philosophy Postgraduate Conference 2011.
Human relationships have always held a unique position in moral philosophy, particularly in eudaemonist ethics, where they are considered by most to be essential to “the good life”. However, this fact has made conceptualising the good life in purely individualistic terms difficult, due to the important role that the ‘other’ plays in any kind of relationship. In this paper I argue that the fragile relationship between self and other that exists in all human relationships – but especially in more meaningful ones – can be best understood by considering it to be a kind of luck.
In developing this account I look closely at the nature of human relationships, using Aristotle’s account of friendship as a model. From this I argue that friendship consists of two virtues working in reciprocity in two persons. Finally, I explain how this reciprocity can be understood as luck, and how recognising that a particular type of luck, dependence luck, is inherent to relationships can in fact help to foster the virtues that allow a person to participate in those relationships.