A problem for Russellian theories of belief

Philosophical Studies 146 (2):249 - 267 (2009)
Abstract
Russellianism is characterized as the view that ‘that’-clauses refer to Russellian propositions, familiar set-theoretic pairings of objects and properties. Two belief-reporting sentences, S and S*, possessing the same Russellian content, but differing in their intuitive truthvalue, are provided. It is argued that no Russellian explanation of the difference in apparent truthvalue is available, with the upshot that the Russellian fails to explain how a speaker who asserts S but rejects S* can be innocent of inconsistency, either in what she says or, at least, in what she implicates. Yet, while there is no semantic or pragmatic explanation of the substitution failure consistent with Russellianism, there remains the possibility of a purely psychological explanation that is, nonetheless, Russellian. This is an attractive option. It comes at a cost, however, since, in abandoning the project of providing a semantic or pragmatic explanation of anti-substitutivity intuitions, the Russellian is no longer in the business of explaining how a rational, well-informed speaker, with no incentive to mislead, can avoid inconsistency in reporting the facts as they appear.
Keywords Russellianism  ‘That’-clause  Pragmatic strategy  Hidden-indexical theory  Naive theory  Mode of presentation  Guise  Implicature  Enrichment
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References found in this work BETA
Kent Bach (1997). Do Belief Reports Report Beliefs? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (3):215-241.
David M. Braun (1998). Understanding Belief Reports. Philosophical Review 107 (4):555-595.

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