Two conditions are required for an outcome to involve luck:
i) Significance: The outcome should matter to us one way or the other. Hence harm or benefit should be present
ii) Predictive intractability: The outcome should be fortuitous and involve an element of unforeseeability. Luck’s presence is unavoidable due to our decidedly limited predictive and cognitive capabilities. The future is naturally inaccessible to us because we don’t know the operative laws and the requisite data or because the inferences needed to acquire knowledge from laws and data involve complexities beyond the reach of our predictive capabilities. Contingency and ignorance are our natural impediments to prediction:
- Pure Chance: Genuinely random processes which do not confirm to any sort of definite, outcome-determinative rule.
- Chaos: Deterministic processes in which one and the same set of observationally identical initial conditions can eventuate different results.
- Choice: People’s capacity for free, predictively intractable choice.
- Cognitive imperfections: Ignorance, error, bias and misinformation