From McGee's puzzle to the Lottery Paradox

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Abstract
Vann McGee has presented a putative counterexample to modus ponens. After clarifying that McGee actually targets an epistemic version of such a principle, I show that, contrary to a view commonly held in the literature, assuming the material conditional as an interpretation of the natural language conditional “if … then …” does not dissolve the puzzle. Indeed, I provide a slightly modified version of McGee’s famous election scenario in which (1) the relevant features of the scenario are preserved and (2) both (epistemic) modus ponens and modus tollens fail, even if we assume the material conditional. I go on to note that in the modified scenario (which I call “the restaurant scenario”) (epistemic) conjunction introduction does not hold. More specifically, I show that the restaurant scenario is actually a version of the lottery scenario Kyburg uses in his Lottery Paradox. One main conclusion ensues, according to which we should expect a unified solution to both McGee’s puzzle and the Lottery Paradox. This conclusion defies the existing accounts of McGee’s puzzle.
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First archival date: 2020-02-25
Latest version: 2 (2021-01-02)
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2020-02-25

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