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Choice Group Seminar by Mike Otsuka (Rutgers University): ‘Equal chances versus equal outcomes: when are lotteries fair and justified?’

29 May, 4:30 pm6:00 pm

Abstract: According to one potent challenge to the value and fairness of distribution by lot, the lottery chance of receiving a good is lacking in value or otherwise insignificant or irrelevant in comparison with actually receiving the good. To meet this challenge, I show in Section I that the far greater significance of receiving all of an undivided good needn’t undermine the case for equal lottery chances of the whole good, as compared with an outcome involving equally divided portions of this good. I argue in Section II that it mislocates the value of lottery chances to assume that they must contribute, in themselves, to a person’s well-being. Rather their significance primarily resides in their expected instrumental value in delivering goods of independent value. In Section III, I provide an account of when distribution by lot is perfectly fair in spite of the inevitability of an unequal outcome among equal claimants.

Mike Otsuka is a Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

This event will take place in person on LSE’s campus. However, those unable to attend in person will have the option of taking part online.

To join online just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.


29 May
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Event Category:


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