Chapter

Lotteries and multiple premises: the pull towards certainty. Knowledge and natural laws

Edward Craig

in Knowledge and the State of Nature

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238799
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597237 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198238797.003.0011
 Lotteries and multiple premises: the pull towards certainty. Knowledge and natural laws

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Objectivization forces the requirement of a high likelihood that an informant will be right if she is to be classified as a good one, but this does not, argues Craig, equal 1, for that figure has little basis in practical life. Nevertheless, the example of a lottery, and, in particular, the claim that one will not win, brings closer to our real experience the idea that one may not always be advised to act on information that has a chance of less than 1 of being true. A similar push towards this stringent idea is sometimes exerted by the wish to draw inferences from multiple premises and to be able to rely on the result. However, though real situations can require a very high likelihood, they do not force us to set it at 1; that final push comes from reflection lying outside the framework of everyday practice.

Keywords: knowledge; lottery; objectivization; probability; reflection

Chapter.  2418 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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