Can the lottery paradox be solved by identifying epistemic justification with epistemic permissibility?

Episteme 16 (3):241-261 (2019)

Benjamin Kiesewetter
Humboldt-University, Berlin
Thomas Kroedel argues that the lottery paradox can be solved by identifying epistemic justification with epistemic permissibility rather than epistemic obligation. According to his permissibility solution, we are permitted to believe of each lottery ticket that it will lose, but since permissions do not agglomerate, it does not follow that we are permitted to have all of these beliefs together, and therefore it also does not follow that we are permitted to believe that all tickets will lose. I present two objections to this solution. First, even if justification itself amounts to no more than epistemic permissibility, the lottery paradox recurs at the level of doxastic obligations unless one adopts an extremely permissive view about suspension of belief that is in tension with our practice of doxastic criticism. Second, even if there are no obligations to believe lottery propositions, the permissibility solution fails because epistemic permissions typically agglomerate, and the lottery case provides no exception to this rule.
Keywords Lottery paradox  permissibility solution  epistemic permissivism  epistemic obligation  epistemic deontology  justification agglomeration  Thomas Kroedel
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2018.4
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