Dear Iris

Thank you for reading my question I have always wondered is luck real?

Philosopher's reply

Dear Zoe

I have been thinking about your question ever since I got it. It’s very interesting. And it presents us with a bit of a paradox.

The thing is, luck is just that: luck. By definition, it’s random. So when you ask if it is “real”, one thing you might be asking is whether or not it’s really luck. Maybe it’s not. Maybe there is something going on that has an order, or purpose, to it (you might be thinking).

In the case of good “luck”, a concept for this might be ‘grace’ or even ‘charm'. But notice that these phenomena imply an agent, generally assumed to be divine, or supernatural, that (or who) is dispensing the good luck. It’s not random; it’s caused by a deity, or Fate, or The Universe. Same with a curse, say.

So I think that my answer is that if luck is real, in the sense that I suspect that you were asking about, then it’s in the nature of the case that it can’t actually be luck!

What do you think?

Warmly, Ruth Groff

Philosopher's profile

Ruth Groff

Saint Louis University,  USA

Iris Murdoch is one of my most favorite philosophers. She makes wonderful use of the best parts of Simone Weil; she has a rich, compelling moral theory; I recognize her Plato; she is an intellectual role model for those of us who think that Anglo-analytic philosophy, all by itself, falls far short of its object(s) -- that if nothing else we need the history of philosophy, as well as literature, in order to even begin to do philosophy.

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