The Importance of Luck

14 thoughts
last posted Sept. 23, 2012, 6:48 a.m.

13 earlier thoughts


Much of the formation of that pattern comes down to luck, yet we can still identify a useful and meaningful scope for the concept of free will.

And it's intrinsically tied in with the capacity to suffer, and to be aware of the suffering of others and to make a choice about whether or not we take action to increase or decrease that suffering.

How we think about that often comes back around to how we think about fortune, good or bad. If we're fortunate ourselves, and think that reflects merit on our part, and similarly think that poor outcomes reflect a lack of merit on the part of others, then we're more likely to oppose taking action to redistribute outcomes more "fairly".

On the other hand, if we think outcomes contain a healthy portion of sheer random luck, then the concept of using taxes, or philanthropy or some other mechanism to reduce the suffering caused by the vagaries of chance starts to look quite appealing.