Differences between Chance and Causality

Obviously, chance and causality are very similar words that are often confused by many people, since their semantic and syntactic resemblance is indisputable. In addition, they are often used in a very similar context to refer to circumstances or events, their causes and consequences, or the relationship between them.

That is why it is important to know the differences that exist between both words, so, below, we will show the concepts and applications of each of them, and then summarize such differences.


On the one hand, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, chance is the -combination of circumstances that cannot be foreseen or avoided-. Hence, when speaking of chance, reference is made to unforeseen, fortuitous and unforeseen events or events. Additionally, chance is a feminine noun that is used to talk about coincidences and eventualities.

It is then about the combination of circumstances in which whoever perceives the coincidence realizes that the facts are inexplicably coincidental, strange and unexpected. An example of chance could be thinking of someone or mentioning them in a conversation and that person calls you. It is a fortuitous event, unforeseen and unthinkable but it happens. Therefore, it is a coincidence.

On the other hand, the sensation of coincidence happens by itself, without expecting it, many people tend to attribute fortuitous events to chance, such as buying a lottery ticket with the date of birth and thinking that it is the one that will give them the -luck- of to win the lottery.


Briefly, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, causality is the –law by virtue of which effects are produced-. In this way, causality refers to the cause-effect relationship of things, facts and events. The term causality is used both in physics and in philosophy and statistics. Thus, in physics, the principle of causality affirms that any event is caused by a previous one, in philosophy, causality is the law by virtue of which effects are generated, and in statistics, causality is a relationship of necessity of co-occurrence of two intervening variables.

In everyday life, many times it is tried to explain causality through proverbs or sayings of popular knowledge, such as, for example, -who sows winds gathers storms-, which means that events have consequences, that is, a causal relationship and effect.

Likewise, another example of causality can be holding a glass with your hands, opening your hands implies that the glass will fall and break. This translates into the principle of causality, the cause is the opening of the hands and the effect is that the glass breaks.

As can be seen, despite the fact that they are similar words that have to do with the occurrence of events, chance and causality are different words whose uses, meanings and applications are diverse. In summary we have to:

  • Chance is a condition in which the facts, events or occurrences are unforeseen, fortuitous and unthinkable while chance is a condition in which the facts, events or occurrences are caused by other prior facts or circumstances.
  • Chance applies to uncertainty while causality applies to the certainty of the occurrence of events.

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