, Volume 186, Issue 2, pp 511-529

First online:

Logical questions behind the lottery and preface paradoxes: lossy rules for uncertain inference

  • David MakinsonAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method, London School of Economics Email author 

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We reflect on lessons that the lottery and preface paradoxes provide for the logic of uncertain inference. One of these lessons is the unreliability of the rule of conjunction of conclusions in such contexts, whether the inferences are probabilistic or qualitative; this leads us to an examination of consequence relations without that rule, the study of other rules that may nevertheless be satisfied in its absence, and a partial rehabilitation of conjunction as a ‘lossy’ rule. A second lesson is the possibility of rational inconsistent belief; this leads us to formulate criteria for deciding when an inconsistent set of beliefs may reasonably be retained.


Lottery paradox Preface paradox Uncertain inference Conjunction Rationality Inconsistency Lossy rules