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JohnHawthornesKnowledgeandLotteries

Chapter1:IntroducingthePuzzle

1.1:APuzzle

1. SknowsthatSwonthaveenoughmoneytogoonasafarithis
year.
2. IfSknowsthatSwonthaveenoughmoneytogoonasafarithis
year,thenSisinapositiontoknowthatSwillnotwinamajor
prizeinalotterythisyear.
3. Hence,SisinapositiontoknowthatSwillnotwinamajorprizein
alotterythisyear.

Wehavetheintuitionthat[1]and[2]aretrue,butinspiteofthefactthat
[3]followsfrom[1]and[2],wehavetheintuitionthat[3]isnottrue.

OtherInstancesofthePuzzle
1. IknowthatIwillbelivinginSyracuseforpartofthissummer.
2. IdontknowthatIwillnotsufferafatalheartattackinthenext
week.

3. Iknowthatmycarisnowparkedinlocationx.
4. Idontknowthatmycarhasnotbeenstoleninthelastfew
minutes.

5. IknowthatGeorgeW.BushisnowthePresidentoftheUnited
States.
6. IdontknowthatBushhasntbeenassassinatedinthelastfew
minutes.

7. Iknowthatmyrefrigeratorisrunning.
8. Idontknowthattherehasntbeenanelectricaloutageinmy
neighborhoodinthelastfewminutes.

9. IknowthattheLakerswonlastnight.
10. Idontknowthattherewasntamisprintinthismorningspaper.

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11. Iknowthattheresadeskinfrontofme.
12. Idontknowthatthedeskhasntveryrecentlydevelopedintoa
deskfaade.

TheStructureofLotteryPuzzles
Thereis
1. anordinaryproposition,apropositionofthesortthatwe
ordinarilytakeourselvestoknow(p.5).
2. alotteryproposition,apropositionofthesortthat,while
highlylikely,isapropositionthatwewouldbeintuitively
disinclinedtotakeourselvestoknow(p.5).

1.2:TheLotteryProposition

[T]helotterypropositionishighlylikelyrelativetothepersons
evidence(p.8).

WhyDoWeThinkThatWeDontKnowLotteryPropositions?
1. Ourintuitiondoesnotdependontherebeingaguaranteedwinner.
2. Itdoesntdependonthefactthateachtickethasanequalchanceof
winning.
3. Itdoesntdependonthefactthattheepistemicsubjectunder
considerationhasmerelystatisticalreasonsforbelievingthatheor
shewilllosethelottery.
4. Itdoesntdependonanyofthefollowingepistemologicaltheories:
a. Thejustifiedtruebeliefaccountofknowledge
b. Reliabilism
c. Thetruebeliefsupportedbygoodevidenceaccount
d. Asensitivityaccount,neithersensitivitysimpliciternor
sensitivity*,i.e.,asensitivityconditionthathasbeenrelativized
tobeliefformingmethods.(Inthelattercase,wesometimes
havetheintuitionthatSsbeliefthatpisnotsensitive*,along
withtheintuitionthatSdoesntknowthatp.Atothertimes,
thoughforexample,inVogelsholeinonecase(seep.12)and
inHawthornesmatchboxandmispronunciationcaseswe
havetheintuitionthatSsbeliefthatpisnotsensitive*,along
withtheintuitionthatSdoesknowthatp.)
5. Itdoesdependon[s]omethinginthevicinityofthepresenceof
probabilisticthoughts(p.14).HeresHawthornesproposal:

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intheparadigmlotterysituation,somethinglikethe
followinggoeson:Theascriberdividesthepossibilityspace
intoasetofsubcases,eachofwhich,fromthepointofview
ofthesubject,isoverwhelminglylikelytonotobtain,but
whicharesuchthatthesubjectsgroundsforthinkingthat
anyoneofthesubcasesdoesnotobtainisnotappreciably
differentthanhisgroundsforthinkingthatanyother
subcasedoesnotobtain.UsingDeRosesterminology,the
relativestrengthofepistemicpositionwithregardtoeach
subcaseisnotappreciablydifferent(pp.1415).

Wemightputthisasaprincipleinthefollowingway:

ParityReasoning:Oneconceptualizesthepropositionthatpasthe
propositionthatoneparticularmemberofasetofsubcases(p1,,
pn)will(ordoes)notobtain,whereonehasnoappreciablystronger
reasonforthinkingthatanygivenmemberofthesetwillnotobtain
thanonehasforthinkingthatanyotherparticularmemberwillnot
obtain.Insofarasonereckonsitabsurdtosupposethatoneisable
toknowofeachof(p1,,pn)thatitwillnotobtain,onethen
reckonsoneselfunabletoknowthatp.

ApplyingtheParityReasoningProposaltoCases
[O]nthepictureIamadvancing,oneswillingnessto[sayone
knowsthattherewillnotbesixtyholesinone]dependsonnot
havingdividedtheHeartbreakercaseintoasetofsubcasesto
whichparityreasoningcanapply(p.17).

1.3:Assertion,Probability,PracticalReasoning

Hawthornemaintainsthatweshouldpayespeciallycarefulattentionto
threephenomenathatarecloselytiedtoknowledge(p.21):

1. Assertion

a. Wearenotinclinedtoattributetoourselvesknowledgeofa
lotteryproposition,L,andatthesametime,wearenot
inclinedtoassertL.
b. Perhapswecanaccountfortheformerfactbysayingthat
weviolatesomeconversationalmaximwhenweattribute

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knowledgeofLtoourselves.Inthiscase,wewouldntneed
tosaythatwefailtoknowthatL.(Thisisonestrategyfor
denyingapremiseofthelotteryargument.)
c. Hawthorneargues,though,thatthiswontwork.Still,there
isaconversationalmaximatworkhere,anditsthe
KnowledgeAccountofAssertion(KAA):Imayassertthatp
onlyifIknowthatp.Thus,inthecaseoflottery
propositions,mynotknowingthatLaccountsperfectlywell
formynotbeinginclinedtoassertit.Noconversational
maximallowsustoknowthatL,butmynotknowingthatL,
givenKAA,givesusafineexplanationofthefactthatwe
arentinclinedtoassertthatL.

2. Probability

a. Thereisalsoastrikingtiebetweenourwillingnesstoassert
ItmightbethatpandThereisachancethatpontheone
hand,andourwillingnesstoassertIdonotknowthatnot
pandIdonotknowwhetherornotpontheother(p.24).

b. (1) ItispossiblethatpforSatt(Thereisachancethatp
forSatt)iffpisconsistentwithwhatSknowsatt(p.
26).

c. (3) AnutteranceofItmightbethatpbySattistrueiff
itispossiblethatpforSatt(p.26).

3. PracticalReasoning

a. Thatonedoesnotknowalotterypropositionseemsto
prohibitonefromusingitasapremiseinonesdeliberations
abouthowtoact(p.29).

b. Considerthefollowinglineofreasoning:
Theticketisaloser.
SoifIkeeptheticketIwillgetnothing.
ButifIselltheticketIwillgetapenny.
SoIdbetterselltheticket.

c. suchreasoningisunacceptable(p.29).

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d. Whyissuchreasoningunacceptable?Folkswillrespond
bypointingoutthatthefirstpremisewasnotknowntobe
true(pp.2930).

e. :oneoughtonlytousethatwhichoneknowsasa
premiseinonesdeliberations(p.30).

1.4:EpistemicClosure

MultiPremiseClosure(MPC):Necessarily,ifSknowsthatp1,,pn,
competentlydeducesq(fromp1,,pn),andtherebycomestobelievethat
q,whileretainingknowledgeofp1,,pnthroughout,thenSknowsthatq.

SinglePremiseClosure(SPC):Necessarily,ifSknowsthatp,competently
deducesq(fromp),andtherebycomestobelievethatq,whileretaining
knowledgeofpthroughout,thenSknowsthatq.

somethinginthevicinityoftheaboveclosureprinciplesiscorrect(p.
35).

1.5:DenyingSinglePremiseClosure

TheintuitiveconsequencesofdenyingSinglePremiseClosureseemtobe
extremelyhigh(p.38).

1. adenialofclosureinteractsdisastrouslywiththethesisthat
knowledgeisthenormofassertion.Thepremisesofamodus
ponensargument[e.g.,theBIVskepticalargument,orthecleverly
paintedmuleskepticalargument]arestablyadheredto,andyet
theconclusionstablyrepudiated(p.39).

2. InrelinquishingSPC,weareforcedtorelinquishcertainother
principlesAdditionClosureandDistribution(orinstead,
Equivalence)thatareverycompelling(p.41).

3. Letpbeaheavyweightpropositionjustincaseweallhavesome
stronginclinationtosaythatpisneitherthesortofthingthatone
canknowbytheexerciseofreasonalonenorbytheuseofones
perceptualfaculties(evenaidedbyreason)(p.42).Butwhilethe

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viewsofsomewhodenyclosureareintendedtoalign
[themselves]withourinstinctiveverdictsaboutwhetwecanand
cannotknowbyperception[theydraw]thecancannotlineina
verydifferentplace(p.46).Forexample,Ihaveconclusive
reasonsforbelievingthat(Ihaveaheadacheanditisnotthecase
thatIamabraininavat).Butthisseemstobeaheavyweight
proposition.

1.6:MultiPremiseClosure

Theclaimhereisthatwehavereasontobelievethat(somethinginthe
vicinityof)MPCistrue.

1. Kyburgscase:Thecasedependsontheviewthatknowledgeis
reasonabletruebelief,butthatviewisunpromising.

2. Riskoffalsityaccrues:But[i]ftherebeingariskthatnotpamountsto
therebeingachancethatnotp,thenknowingpisnotcompatiblewith
therebeinganyriskatallthatnotp(p.48).So,wedfailtoknow
(someof)thepremisesinthiscase.

3. TheAPACase:itseemsasifthesettinginwhichoneascribes
knowledgeoftheindividualpropositionstomeisasettinginwhich
(giventhatIhavededucedandcometobelievetheconjunction)oneis
willingtoascribeknowledgetomeoftheconjunction(p.49).

4. Misleadingevidenceagainstthetruthofsomepremise:Inthiscase,
Hawthornemaintainsthatwemightnotwanttoabandonourclaimto
knowanyoneofthepremises,butthatitwouldstillbeperfectly
understandableifIwasnotinclinedtobelievetheconjunction.But
thatfacthardlymakestroubleforMPC(p.50).Why?Becausea
conjunctintheantecedentofMPCnamely,and[S]therebycomesto
believethatqisfalse.

5. Believingthatyoudontknowtheconjunction:Herownbeliefthat
knowledgeisabsentexplainswellenoughthedubiousstatusofthe
assertionTheconjunctionistrueinhermouth,withoutautomatically
impugningMPC(p.50),sincebelievingthatonedoesntknowthatp
iscompatiblewithknowingthatp.