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Paperback Series on Law and Philosophy Kuji-biki Shimasenka? (How about a Lottery? - From Democracy to Survival)


256 pages, paperback pocket edition




June 06, 2022



Published by

Shinzansha Publisher Co., Ltd.

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Kuji-biki Shimasenka?

Japanese Page

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The lottery is receiving much attention of late.
One of the main factors for this is the crisis facing democracy. Widespread distrust of politics along with the rise of populism and authoritarianism have prompted a re-examination of the point of democracy. To this end, a well-known reference is the Athenian democracy developed in Ancient Greece. In Athenian democracy, the majority of public officials were chosen by lottery while the election of public officials was understood to be something distinct from democracy. This finding serves as the foundation for discussions on the potential for lottery-based democracy (“lottocracy”) to rehabilitate our present-day democracy.
Meanwhile, in the realm of ethics, the thought experiment known as the “survival lottery” has become the object of much discussion. In the survival lottery, organs extracted from healthy individuals selected through an impartial lottery are distributed to individuals requiring organ transplants. Although the establishment of a survival lottery would increase the number of individuals able to survive, many people are likely to feel resistance towards the establishment of such a lottery. What is problematic about a survival lottery? It is not that easy to determine exactly what the problem is.
Furthermore, with regard to philosophical discussions on equality, the theory known as “luck egalitarianism,” which posits that inequalities that are the consequence of luck are unjust and should be redressed, is being prominently advocated. For example, economic disparities resulting from the so-called parent lottery are the consequence of luck, not the responsibility of the individual, and, thus, are unjust, should therefore be redressed. In other words, luck egalitarianism calls for the complete elimination of factors based on luck. That said, criticisms have also been leveled against luck egalitarianism, resulting in vigorous debate regarding how the influence of luck on people’s lives should be viewed.
The book is a full-fledged examination of “the lottery” that has been garnering attention from multiple angles. Experts in philosophy of law, ethics, political science, economics, and sociology of law freely discuss the relationship between lotteries and justice from their respective areas of expertise.
The book’s title How about a Lottery? has two meanings. The first is an invitation to participate in lotteries. Lotteries are a “forgotten decision-making method” that are not used much these days. But they deserve consideration as an unexpectedly “decent decision-making method.” The book’s title suggests trying lotteries in a variety of contexts.
The second meaning of the title is an invitation to think about lotteries. Lotteries are an intellectually interesting theme that raises a wide range of profound questions. That is, inviting the reader to consider questions related to lotteries themselves is another meaning of the book’s title How about a Lottery?.

(Written by TAKIKAWA Hirohide, Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics / 2022)

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