The lucky and the unlucky


Luck is described by Aristotle as something that results from the actions of a rational agent (i.e. a human) that was not intended by the individual taking that action. In this way this result is felt by Aristotle to be “coincidental.” He also determines that this category of luck is included within the broader spectrum which he calls chance (which shall be addressed below) but that it is limited to human beings, capable of cognitive thought.
Chance is described by Aristotle as being an event that takes place “pointlessly.” That is that there is nothing in the nature of the activity that inherently begets the result that springs forth from it. For instance, if a deer wanders beneath a tree in order to eat some greener grass (an action based on instinct not as a result of rational thought) and the tree happens to have a broken branch from a storm the night before which then falls and hits the deer it could not be said that the deer going beneath the tree to eat the grass was for the purpose of being hit by a falling branch and yet this occurred.

A ten-year scientific study into the nature of luck has revealed that, to a large ex-
tent, people make their own good and bad fortune.  The results also show that it is
possible to enhance the amount of luck that people encounter in their lives.

The UK psychologist, Richard Wiseman, has done extensive research on luck. His book The Luck Factor attempts to explain luck scientifically.

Read more about Richard Wiseman here. Read an article here.

One thought on “The lucky and the unlucky

  1. I think Aristotle is right to make luck a subset of chance or coincidence. Luck like miracle always has a particular point of view. That is something that is lucky for me may not be for you!

    Mark Twain’s short story “Luck” is worth a read. Here.


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