The Hardest Paradox for Closure

Erkenntnis 87 (4):2003-2028 (2022)
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According to the principle of Conjunction Closure, if one has justification for believing each of a set of propositions, one has justification for believing their conjunction. The lottery and preface paradoxes can both be seen as posing challenges for Closure, but leave open familiar strategies for preserving the principle. While this is all relatively well-trodden ground, a new Closure-challenging paradox has recently emerged, in two somewhat different forms, due to Backes :3773–3787, 2019a) and Praolini :715–726, 2019). This paradox synthesises elements of the lottery and the preface and is designed to close off the familiar Closure-preserving strategies. By appealing to a normic theory of justification, I will defend Closure in the face of this new paradox. Along the way I will draw more general conclusions about justification, normalcy and defeat, which bear upon what Backes :2877–2895, 2019b) has dubbed the ‘easy defeat’ problem for the normic theory.

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Martin Smith
University of Edinburgh


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