The Lottery Paradox
The Lottery Paradox (LP) is a paradox one runs into when working in epistemology. The Lottery Paradox challenges the common sense belief that fallible justifiability only requires high probability. The typical lottery paradox runs as follows: Suppose there is a fair lottery in which 1,000,000 tickets are sold. Moreover, suppose that only one ticket can be the winner. If we select any one ticket, we will see that the probability of that ticket being the winning ticket is .000001%. Since it is highly probable that this ticket will not win, and by assuming the traditional fallible justifiability, we know that the ticket we choose will not win. However, since our choice was random, and since the same probability would have applied to any ticket we selected, we can use the principle of universal generalization to apply our result to every single ticket. The immediate result that we get is that we know that every single ticket will not be the winning ticket. However, as part of the game, one ticket must win. Ergo, we get a contradiction: we know that one ticket will win, but we also know that no ticket will win.
The truly menacing nature of the lottery paradox is that it can be constructed with any situation where high probability is involved. What is the way out of this paradox? Before I answer this, we must conceed to the skeptic that he has presented us with a real head scratcher. One possibility, which I am sympathetic to, is that the concept of knowledge is simply incoherent, and the Lottery Paradox demonstrates this. However, I think it demonstrates something more important: That evidence, over and beyond mere probability is warrented in order to claim knowledge. We can use the example of racial profiling to eulicitate this point. It is a statistical fact, that in an african american community, african americans will commit more crimes than whites. However, does this justify randomly pulling over a black person merely because it is highly probable that he commited a crime? No. What is needed is FURTHER evidence suggesting that he commited the crime. Hence, evidence of the particular black person is needed. The same is true for the Lottery Paradox. One is unjustified in saying the ticket will lose, because even though it is highly probable that it will lose, there is no further evidence suggesting that YOUR particular ticket will lose.
PS: Yes, it just happens that I have become an expert on paradoxes. I sorta fell into it, oddly enough.
"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions