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Campus Book Discussion (2018): Hillbilly Elegy

Fate or Fortune

Vance discusses how his traumatic childhood experiences impacted his relationship with his girlfriend, Usha, who he later marries, but how going to a counselor did not work for him. He learns to deal with this adverse childhood experiences through self-reflection and with the help of his wife, Usha. In his quest for understanding, he poses an important question about fate and personal responsibility: "How much of our lives, good and bad, should we credit to our personal decisions, and how much is just the inheritance of our culture, our families, and our parents who have failed their children?  How much of Mom’s life her own fault?  Where does blame stop and sympathy begin?" (231).

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi

Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think
In this article, the author first begins with a story that attests to his own luck and then provides examples of scientific studies that demonstrate when given the opportunity to reflect on how factors beyond their control contribute to people's success, those who attribute luck to their success tend to be more compassionate and generous. On the other hand, those who attribute their success to their own choices and abilities, tend to be less generous. To this end, the author suggests that acknowledging luck as a contributing factor of success lends itself to a more generous and benevolent society.

Generating the Problem of Moral Luck and Kinds of Luck
Is moral assessment immune to luck? If not, then what does luck entail for matters such as success, justice, and punishment? This article discusses the concept of moral luck, distinctions of moral luck - and what such a thing entails for ethical and moral assessments.

Food for Thought

How responsible are we for the outcomes of our lives?  Is success all about personal responsibility or something else?

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