The chapter begins by considering an electoral tie broken by lottery. It proceeds to show that lotteries are often used to break electoral ties, and to make many other decisions as well. Many of these decisions (e.g., military conscription) literally concern matters of life and death. Lotteries thus have proven appealing to many people in many contexts. This fact is paradoxical because random selection seems prima facie absurd. Decisions, after all, are supposed to be made using reasons, and lotteries eschew them. The chapter then considers and dismisses several possible resolutions to the paradox before introducing the main argument of the book—that lotteries might be attractive under the right circumstances precisely because they avoid using reasons.
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