David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Auslegung 26 (2):67-75 (2003)
It is commonly held, plausibly, that many true beliefs are true only contingently, that is, are actually true (or true with respect to the actual world) but would be false were the world in some relevant ways otherwise (i.e. are false with respect to some other possible worlds). However, a radically different approach, according to which no belief is contingently true, is entirely defensible. The key point in this alternative approach is that each belief concerns the world in which the believer is (or would be) situated, which makes it the case that, say, the actual belief that Kofi Annan is not bald is different from the belief, in any other world, that Kofi Annan is not bald. This difference is further backed up by considerations related to disagreement between believers, and to knowledge. The most important objection to this alternative approach is that it cannot be right since it makes all true beliefs necessarily true. It will be shown, as a reply to this objection, that under this alternative approach it can still be said truly, for instance, that Annan is not bald but could have been so.
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