Erkenntnis

, Volume 61, Issue 2–3, pp 415–428 | Cite as

Lotteries And Contexts

Article
  • 71 Downloads

Abstract

There are many ordinary propositions we think we know. Almost every ordinary proposition entails some “lottery proposition” which we think we do not know but to which we assign a high probability of being true (for instance:“I will never be a multi-millionaire” entails “I will not win this lottery”). How is this possible – given that some closure principle is true? This problem, also known as “the Lottery puzzle”, has recently provoked a lot of discussion. In this paper I discuss one of the most promising answers to the problem: Stewart Cohen’s contextualist solution, which is based on ideas about the salience of chances of error. After presenting some objections to it I sketch an alternative solution which is still contextualist in spirit.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adler, J. E. 1986‘Knowing, Betting and Cohering’Philosophical Topics14243257Google Scholar
  2. Barke, A. 2004‘Epistemic Contextualism’Erkenntnis61353373Google Scholar
  3. Bogdan, R. J. 1985‘Cognition and Epistemic Closure’American Philosophical Quarterly225563Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, S. 1988‘How to Be a Fallibilist’Philosophical Perspectives291123Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, S. 1998‘Contextualist Solutions to Epistemological Problems: Scepticism, Gettier, and the Lottery’Australasian Journal of Philosophy76289306Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, S.: forthcoming, ‘Knowledge, Speaker, and Subject’.Google Scholar
  7. Davies, M. 1998

    ‘Externalism, Architecturalism and Epistemic Warrant’

    Wright, C.Smith, B.Macdonald, C. eds. Knowing Our Own MindsClarendonOxford321361
    Google Scholar
  8. DeRose, K. 1996‘Knowledge, Assertion and Lotteries’Australasian Journal of Philosophy74568580Google Scholar
  9. DeRose, K.: forthcoming, ‘Single Scoreboard Semantics’, Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  10. Dretske, F. 1981Knowledge and the Flow of InformationMIT PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  11. Dudman, V. H. 1992‘Probability and Assertion’Analysis52204211Google Scholar
  12. Greco, J. 2003

    ‘Knowledge as Credit for True Belief’

    DePaul, M.Zagzebski, L. eds. Intellectual Virtue–Perspectives from Ethics and EpistemologyOxford University PressOxford
    Google Scholar
  13. Greco, J. 2004‘A Different Sort of Contextualism’Erkenntnis61383400Google Scholar
  14. Hales, S. D. 1995‘Epistemic Closure Principles’Southern Journal of Philosophy33185201Google Scholar
  15. Harman, G. 1968‘Knowledge, Inference, and Explanation’American Philosophical Quarterly5164173Google Scholar
  16. Harman, G. 1973ThoughtPrinceton University PressPrincetonGoogle Scholar
  17. Harman, G. 1986Change in View. Principles of ReasoningMIT PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  18. Harman, G. and B. Sherman: forthcoming, ‘Knowledge, Assumptions, Lotteries’, Philosophical Issues.Google Scholar
  19. Hawthorne, J. 2002‘Lewis, the Lottery, and the Preface’Analysis62242251Google Scholar
  20. Hawthorne, J. 2004Knowledge and LotteriesClarendonOxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Kyburg, H. E.,Jr. 1961Probability and the Logic of Rational BeliefWesleyan University PressMiddletown, CTGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, D. 1983

    ‘Scorekeeping in a Language Game’

    Lewis, D. eds. Philosophical PapersOxford University PressOxford233249Vol.1
    Google Scholar
  23. Lewis, D. 1999

    ‘Elusive Knowledge’

    Lewis, D. eds. Papers in Metaphysics and EpistemologyCambridge University PressCambridge418445
    Google Scholar
  24. Makinson, D. C. 1965‘The Paradox of the Preface’Analysis25205207Google Scholar
  25. Nelkin, D. K. 2000‘The Lottery Paradox, Knowledge, and Rationality’Philosophical Review109373409Google Scholar
  26. Nozick, R. 1981Philosophical ExplanationsHarvard University PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  27. Olen, J. 1977‘Knowledge, Probability, and Nomic Connections’Southern Journal of Philosophy15521526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Olin, D. 2003ParadoxAcumenChesham BucksGoogle Scholar
  29. Ryan, S. 1996‘The Epistemic Virtue of Consistency’Synthese109121140Google Scholar
  30. Stemmer, N. 1982‘A Solution to the Lottery Paradox’Synthese51339353Google Scholar
  31. Vogel, J. 1990

    ‘Are there Counterexamples to the Closure Principle?’

    Roth, M.D.Ross, G. eds. Doubting. Contemporary Perspectives on SkepticismKluwerDordrecht
    Google Scholar
  32. Weintraub, R. 2001‘The Lottery: A Paradox Regained and Resolved’Synthese129439449Google Scholar
  33. Wright, C. 2000‘Cogency and Question-Begging: Some Reflections on McKinsey’s Paradox and Putnam’s Proof’Philosophical Perspectives10140163Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations