Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):77-89 (2021)

Yacin Hamami
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
In mathematics, any form of probabilistic proof obtained through the application of a probabilistic method is not considered as a legitimate way of gaining mathematical knowledge. In a series of papers, Don Fallis has defended the thesis that there are no epistemic reasons justifying mathematicians’ rejection of probabilistic proofs. This paper identifies such an epistemic reason. More specifically, it is argued here that if one adopts a conception of mathematical knowledge in which an epistemic subject can know a mathematical proposition based solely on a probabilistic proof, one is then forced to admit that such an epistemic subject can know several lottery propositions based solely on probabilistic evidence. Insofar as knowledge of lottery propositions on the basis of probabilistic evidence alone is denied by the vast majority of epistemologists, it is concluded that this constitutes an epistemic reason for rejecting probabilistic proofs as a means of acquiring mathematical knowledge.
Keywords Probabilistic proofs  Lottery propositions  Mathematical knowledge
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/pq/pqab007
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Probabilistic Proofs and Transferability.Kenny Easwaran - 2009 - Philosophia Mathematica 17 (3):341-362.
The Logic of Probabilistic Knowledge.Patricia Rich - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1703-1725.
Epistemology Formalized.Sarah Moss - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):1-43.
Necessity, Certainty, and the A Priori.Albert Casullo - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18 (1):43-66.
Probabilistic Knowledge.Sarah Moss - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Problemas para a Explicação Matemática.Eduardo Castro - 2017 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 73 (3-4):1437-1462.
Reliabilism, Lotteries, and Safaris.Mark V. McEvoy - 2018 - Philosophical Forum 49 (3):325-333.
Is Probabilistic Evidence a Source of Knowledge?Ori Friedman & John Turri - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (5):1062-1080.


Added to PP index

Total views
230 ( #49,640 of 2,520,747 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
56 ( #14,476 of 2,520,747 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes