, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 37-46
Date: 29 Apr 2012

Reconsidering the lessons of the lottery for knowledge and belief

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Abstract

In this paper, I propose that one can have reason to choose a few tickets in a very large lottery and arbitrarily believe of them that they will lose. Such a view fits nicely within portions of Lehrer’s theory of rational acceptance. Nonetheless, the reasonability of believing a lottery ticket will lose should not be taken to constitute the kind of justification required in an analysis of knowledge. Moreover, one should not accept what one takes to have a low chance of being true. Accordingly, one should take care not to believe of too many tickets that they are to lose. Finally, while arbitrariness is no absolute barrier to epistemic reasonability, one may not be able to believe that one’s lottery ticket will lose if one cannot regard oneself as knowing it will lose.