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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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Why Lotteries?

Why Lotteries?

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Why Lotteries?
Source:
The Luck of the Draw
Author(s):

Peter Stone

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756100.003.0001

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.

Keywords:   lottery, electoral tiebreaking, military conscription, paradox, decisions, reason

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