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The Luck of the DrawThe Role of Lotteries in Decision Making$
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Peter Stone

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756100

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756100.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 March 2021

What Do Lotteries Do?

What Do Lotteries Do?

(p.19) 2 What Do Lotteries Do?
The Luck of the Draw

Peter Stone

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines a lottery as a process capable of generating a set of outcomes in which the particular outcome to be expected whenever the process occurs is unpredictable given available information. (This is, according to the argument given here, equivalent to saying that the outcome is random.) One implication of this decision is that whenever a decision is made by lot, the decision cannot be made on the basis of reasons. The chapter then argues that lotteries can occasionally prove desirable in decision-making precisely because they prevent decision-making on the basis of reasons. Sometimes an agent faces indeterminacy, in which the good reasons available to the agent prove indeterminate, and there is the danger that bad reasons may enter into the process. Lotteries prevent this by ensuring that the final decision is made on the basis of no reasons. Lotteries can thereby sanitize decision-making. This is called the lottery principle.

Keywords:   lottery, random selection, unpredictability, decision-making, reason, indeterminacy

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