David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):290–315 (2004)
“It is irrational to believe others are irrational”. I ungratefully said that to a confidant who asserted that I was negotiating with a fool. I now wonder whether I was the real fool. If I believe my friend is irrational (in light of his attribution of irrationality to the recipient of my offers), then my epigram implies I am irrational. To avoid the implication that I am irrational, I must not believe anyone to be irrational. But then my epigram also forbids me from believing that someone else believes someone is irrational. I must instead believe that the non-existence of irrationality is common knowledge! 1. Volcanic rationality Can I simply repudiate my epigram? I hesitate because the epigram is a consequence of the principle of charity. Roughly, this interpretive principle states that all agents are rational agents. The standard reasoning behind the principle is a priori: there is a conceptual connection between regarding someone as an agent and viewing his beliefs and desires as forming a coherent system that makes his actions intelligible. Since errors about central a priori truths indict one’s rationality, failure to believe the principle of charity would be irrational. Consequently, charity implies all agents believe all agents are rational. Charity iterates. Since meta-charity would also be a central a priori truth, meta-charity implies meta-meta-charity. And meta-meta-charity implies meta-meta-meta-charity. And so on. Therefore, if the principle of charity is true, then it is common knowledge. So is meta-charity. And meta-meta-charity. And so on.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Jonathan E. Adler (1996). Charity, Interpretation, Fallacy. Philosophy and Rhetoric 29 (4):329 - 343.
Paul M. Churchland (1979). Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
L. Jonathan Cohen (1981). Can Human Irrationality Be Experimentally Demonstrated? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (3):317-370.
L. Jonathan Cohen (1980). Whose is the Fallacy? A Rejoinder to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Cognition 8 (March):89-92.
Donald Davidson (1974). Belief and the Basis of Meaning. Synthese 27 (July-August):309-323.
Citations of this work BETA
Paul Saka (2007). Spurning Charity. Axiomathes 17 (2):197-208.
Similar books and articles
David K. Henderson (1990). An Empirical Basis for Charity in Interpretation. Erkenntnis 32 (1):83 - 103.
Chuang Ye (2008). The Limit of Charity and Agreement. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (1):99-122.
María Rosario Hernández Borges (2007). The Principle of Charity, Transcendentalism and Relativism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:69-75.
Peter Pagin (2006). The Status of Charity II: Charity, Probability, and Simplicity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):361 – 383.
Paul Thagard & Richard E. Nisbett (1983). Rationality and Charity. Philosophy of Science 50 (2):250-267.
David K. Henderson (1987). The Principle of Charity and the Problem of Irrationality (Translation and the Problem of Irrationality). Synthese 73 (2):225 - 252.
Kathrin Glüer (2006). The Status of Charity I: Conceptual Truth or a Posteriori Necessity? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):337 – 359.
Roy Sorensen (2004). Charity Implies Meta-Charity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):290 - 315.
Christopher Gauker (1986). The Principle of Charity. Synthese 69 (October):1-25.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads30 ( #81,050 of 1,696,461 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #55,576 of 1,696,461 )
How can I increase my downloads?