forum 5: week of 6 Feb. Hawthorne and lotteries

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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If my desk, which I sat my computer upon last week and then typed an email at turns out to be a loaf of bread, which I then find, to my horror has been sliced up and turned into sandwiches, am I to believe it was not a) a real desk, but merely a 'desk facade,'or, alternatively and pre-sandwichhood it was b) not really a food item since it was obviously functioning as a desk last week? ( I have the photos on my cel to prove it:-) If I am caught in an earthquake and masonry and bricks are falling all about me, and I use a salad bowl for a safety helmet, is it a) a safety helmet or b) a salad bowl? Knowing there is 'something', we call it by how it functions as a piece of, and in, the big picture we call the world. As for lotteries: why would someone buy a lottery ticket if they were sure they wouldn't win? I can think of one possible and quite plausible reason. Lotteries raise money for some cause which a ticket buyer may support, but only as one among many contributors. Winning may be seen by the buyer as a harmless fantasy which can be indulged in, and serves the seller as a promotional nudge in the direction of chipping in to a cause which every ticket holder can feel is of collective benefit to all concerned. There are two opposed conflicted motives for participating in the game. The prize offered in a sense uses self interest against itself, to achieve a larger goal. That would be the 'real', sophisticated game as opposed to the more naive game of thinking that its all about me.It serves as a method to serve social need where the credo is looking out for number one. Winning would be the exception which proves the rule.

21:48, 6 February 2012

It seems as if Hawthorne addresses the tension between intuitions and the probabilistic reasoning towards the future. The lack of linkage between an 'ordinary proposition' and a lottery proposition explains the impossibility of knowledge of the future. Hawthorne's use of the divisions of epistemic space in his reasoning seems unsatisfying for some reason as an conclusive argument for refuting knowledge of the future or knowledge through deductive reasoning. Overall I agree with Hawthorne in rejecting parity reasoning, however it seems incomplete. It seems as if Hawthorne neglects to mention in the lottery propositions that speakers are actually aware they do not know their lottery propositions.

02:41, 7 February 2012

I concur on your point about Hawthorne's rejection of parity reasoning being incomplete! What's more is his mentioning duplicate reasoning IN PASSING - not going into details about duplicate reasoning (because it is "not our main topic here")! Why I dislike him only mentioning duplicate reasoning and not going into the details is because I agree with duplicate reasoning - this is the position I would take. Also, I just want to disagree with DeRose's comment on probabilistic thoughts being forced upon us. Anyone else disagree with DeRose's comment (top of page 26 in the chapter we are reading)?

Dorothy, why do you think Hawthorne's use of the divisions of epistemic space in his reasoning is unsatisfying as an conclusive argument for refuting knowledge of the future or knowledge through deductive reasoning? It seems like you are on to something, and I just want to see if you can spell it out in more detail. After all, this forum is one place where we can share our ideas with one another.

01:00, 8 February 2012