Is there a fundamental difference between luck and skill? One might think that the important factor is reproducibility, but shouldn't Gladstone Gander then be described as skilled in life instead of lucky?

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    I’m voting to close this question because Gladstone Gander is a cartoon character.
    – Boba Fit
    May 7, 2023 at 23:00
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    "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson. "Chance favors only the prepared mind" -Louis Pasteur
    – CriglCragl
    May 8, 2023 at 0:03
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    +1 for exploring the philosophical implications of a cartoon character i just love to hate
    – armand
    May 8, 2023 at 1:05
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    Before: there are two types of knowledge: savoir (theoretical knowledge, eg. knowing musical theory) and savoir-faire (technical knowledge, eg. actually being able to play the piano). Skills are usually of the second type. Luck is not a type of knowledge, but an unexpected positive result within a probability set (eg. earning the lottery, which probability is very low).
    – RodolfoAP
    May 8, 2023 at 3:40
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    @BobaFit "Gladstone Gander is a cartoon character" is not a valid reason to close questions on this website.
    – user253751
    May 8, 2023 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


Aristotle defined Techne as a proficiency in a given field gained from experience and the continuous application of logos, a.k.a. reason.

If we go with this concept of skill, we can see why Gladstone Gander is not skilled: he is not being efficient by means of his experience and reason, he just is.

With this in mind we can identify some criteria for recognizing skill:

  • reproducibility: a skilled worker can not only obtain the same output in the same circumstances, but explain how because they came to this level of reliability through experience and reason.
  • transmissibility: having mastered their craft through reason, a skilled worker can explain it to an apprentice and set them up to one day reach an even higher level of skill. Contrast with Gladstone who can't explain his successes nor train another person to be as lucky as he is.

Note that this concept of skill excludes talent, as in "being naturally gifted", or, more counter intuitively, proficiency gained from pure practice without reason. For exemple someone who just reliably succeeds at free throws the first time they touch a basket ball, although gifted, can't be considered skilled. Also consider an experienced salesperson who can easily establish rapport with another person, but can't explain how to a trainee (as opposed to "social skills" tricks, like remembering people's name or looking for common goals, etc).

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    Aristotle also had 'metis'. Which might apply to the salesperson who can't teach.
    – CriglCragl
    May 8, 2023 at 10:11

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