forum 5: week of 6 Feb. Hawthorne and lotteries

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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The philosophers we have read thus far in the course seem to be extremely focused on common-sense intuitions, and hold it as the standard against which philosophical arguments are to be judged. This is especially true of Hawthrone, and this, I think, leads to the main problem I and others have with his argument.

To put it succulently, the whole argument seems unnecessary. Sure, he points out some epistemological quirks in our intuitions. Our intuitions aren't at all coherent in many cases, and tends to lend itself differently as the circumstances vary. People seem to disclaim certain knowledge involving probabilities while whole-heartedly embracing others.

But while I think such observations are interesting, but I can't seem to tease our further philosophical implications from it. Can't the simple explanation that people are incompetent at estimating probabilities, and that they are pushed and tugged in all directions randomly by their unconsciousness, be sufficient reason? After all, we don't make such a big fuss over other gross misestimations by people.

I seem to recall that Professor Morton mentioned in class that philosophy is all about the price of your belief. Well, then in this case, we've simple established a gross mis-pricing, and either one price has to rise or the other price has to fall.

04:29, 13 February 2012