Jenkins, Carrie, and . Entitlement and rationality

2007, Synthese 157 (1): 25-45.

Abstract: This paper takes the form of a critical discussion of Crispin Wright’s notion of entitlement of cognitive project. I examine various strategies for defending the claim that entitlement can make acceptance of a proposition epistemically rational, including one which appeals to epistemic consequentialism. Ultimately, I argue, none of these strategies is successful, but the attempt to isolate points of disagreement with Wright issues in some positive proposals as to how an epistemic consequentialist should characterize epistemic rationality.

Comment: This paper critically examines Wright's notion of entitlement, therefore it is natural to use it as a further disucssion material on Wright's paper (On epistemic entitlement: Warrant for nothing (and foundations for free?), 2004). Suitable for a senior undergraduate course on epistemology for topics on entitlement and epistemic rationality.

Nelkin, Dana, and . The lottery paradox, knowledge and rationality

2000, Philosophical Review: 109 (3): 373-409.

Summary: The knowledge version of the paradox arises because it appears that we know our lottery ticket (which is not relevantly different from any other) will lose, but we know that one of the tickets sold will win. The rationality version of the paradox arises because it appears that it is rational to believe of each single ticket in, say, a million-ticket lottery that it will not win, and that it is simultaneously rational to believe that one such ticket will win. It seems, then, that we are committed to attributing two rational beliefs to a single agent at a single time, beliefs that, together with a few background assumptions, are inconsistent and can be seen by the agent to be so. This has seemed to many to be a paradoxical result: an agent in possession of two rational beliefs that she sees to be inconsistent. In my paper, I offer a novel solution to the paradox in both its rationality and knowledge versions that emphasizes a special feature of the lottery case, namely, the statistical nature of the evidence available to the agent. On my view, it is neither true that one knows nor that it is rational to believe that a particular ticket will lose. While this might seem surprising at first, it has a natural explanation and lacks the serious disadvantages of competing solutions.

Comment: The lottery paradox is one of the most central paradox in epistemology and philosophy of probability. Nelkin's paper is a milestone in the literature on this topic after which discussions on the lottery paradox flourish. It is thus a must-have introductory paper on the lottery paradox for teachings on paradoxes of belief, justification theory, rationality, etc.

Ryan, Sharon, and . Wisdom, Knowlegde and Rationality

2012, Acta Analytica, 27(2): 99-112.

Abstract: After surveying the strengths and weaknesses of several well-known approaches to wisdom, I argue for a new theory of wisdom that focuses on being epistemically, practically, and morally rational. My theory of wisdom, The Deep Rationality Theory of Wisdom, claims that a wise person is a person who is rational and who is deeply committed to increasing his or her level of rationality. This theory is a departure from theories of wisdom that demand practical and/or theoretical knowledge. The Deep Rationality Theory salvages all that is attractive, and avoids all that is problematic, about theories of wisdom that require wise people to be knowledgeable.

Comment: Very good as background reading on the topic of wisdom, particulary in the first ha;f of the paper where the author offers a good overview of the main theories of wisdom that could be classified into three categories: i) the ones focusing on epistemic humility, ii) the ones focusing on acquisition of knowledge, iii) the ones focusin on well living.