, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 95–120 | Cite as

Safety, Skepticism, and Lotteries

  • Dylan Dodd
Original Article


Several philosophers have claimed that S knows p only if S’ s belief is safe, where S's belief is safe iff (roughly) in nearby possible worlds in which S believes p, p is true. One widely held intuition many people have is that one cannot know that one's lottery ticket will lose a fair lottery prior to an announcement of the winner, regardless of how probable it is that it will lose. Duncan Pritchard has claimed that a chief advantage of safety theory is that it can explain the lottery intuition without succumbing to skepticism. I argue that Pritchard is wrong. If a version of safety theory can explain the lottery intuition, it will also lead to skepticism.


Actual World Epistemic Position Lottery Ticket Close World Epistemic Closure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank those who attended my presentation of this paper at the Arché Research Centre’s 2008 Reading Party, and at the University of St. Andrews. I am especially indebted to Federico Luzzi, Martin Smith and Jonathan Schaffer for feedback and for discussions of Safety Theory. Additionally, I am grateful to the two anonymous referees at this journal who reviewed my paper. Their comments led to important improvements, including the corrections of some errors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Northern Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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