Ultralarge lotteries: Analyzing the Lottery Paradox using non-standard analysis

Wenmackers, S., Dec-2013, In : Journal of Applied Logic. 11, 4, p. 452-467 16 p.

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  • Sylvia Wenmackers

A popular way to relate probabilistic information to binary rational beliefs is the Lockean Thesis, which is usually formalized in terms of thresholds. This approach seems far from satisfactory: the value of the thresholds is not well-specified and the Lottery Paradox shows that the model violates the Conjunction Principle. We argue that the Lottery Paradox is a symptom of a more fundamental and general problem, shared by all threshold-models that attempt to put an exact border on something that is intrinsically vague. We propose application of the language of relative analysis-a type of non-standard analysis-to formulate a new model for rational belief, called Stratified Belief. This contextualist model seems well-suited to deal with a concept of beliefs based on probabilities 'sufficiently close to unity' and satisfies a moderately weakened form of the Conjunction Principle. We also propose an adaptation of the model that is able to deal with beliefs that are less firm than 'almost certainty'. The adapted version is also of interest for the epistemicist account of vagueness. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-467
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Logic
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2013


  • Epistemology, Lottery Paradox, Rational belief, Vagueness, Non-standard analysis, Relative analysis

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