We shall evaluate two strategies for motivating the view that knowledge is the norm of belief. The first draws on observations concerning belief's aim and the parallels between belief and assertion. The second appeals to observations concerning Moore'sParadox. Neither of these strategies gives us good reason to accept the knowledge account. The considerations offered in support of this account motivate only the weaker account on which truth is the fundamental norm of belief.
In this article I argue that two received accounts of belief and assertion cannot both be correct, because they entail mutually contradictory claims about Moore’s Paradox. The two accounts in question are, first, the Action Theory of Belief (ATB), the functionalist view that belief must be manifested in dispositions to act, and second, the Belief Account of Assertion (BAA), the Gricean view that an asserter must present himself as believing what he asserts. It is generally accepted also that Moorean (...) assertions are absurd, and that BAA explains why they are. I shall argue that ATB implies that some Moorean assertions are, in some fairly ordinary contexts, well justified. Thus BAA and ATB are mutually inconsistent. In the concluding section I explore three possible ways of responding to the dilemma, and what implications they have for the nature of the constitutive relationships linking belief, assent and behavioural dispositions. (shrink)
Expressivists explain the expression relation which obtains between sincere moral assertion and the conative or affective attitude thereby expressed by appeal to the relation which obtains between sincere assertion and belief. In fact, they often explicitly take the relation between moral assertion and their favored conative or affective attitude to be exactly the same as the relation between assertion and the belief thereby expressed. If this is correct, then we can use the identity of the expression relation in the two (...) cases to test the expressivist account as a descriptive or hermeneutic account of moral discourse. I formulate one such test, drawing on a standard explanation of Moore'sparadox. I show that if expressivism is correct as a descriptive account of moral discourse, then we should expect versions of Moore'sparadox where we explicitly deny that we possess certain affective or conative attitudes. I then argue that the constructions that mirror Moore'sparadox are not incoherent. It follows that expressivism is either incorrect as a hermeneutic account of moral discourse or that the expression relation which holds between sincere moral assertion and affective or conative attitudes is not identical to the relation which holds between sincere non-moral assertion and belief. A number of objections are canvassed and rejected. (shrink)
Assertions of statements such as ‘it’s raining, but I don’t believe it’ are standard examples of what is known as Moore’s paradox. Here I consider moral equivalents of such statements, statements wherein individuals affirm moral judgments while also expressing motivational indifference to those judgments (such as ‘hurting animals for fun is wrong, but I don’t care’). I argue for four main conclusions concerning such statements: 1. Such statements are genuinely paradoxical, even if not contradictory. 2. This paradoxicality can be (...) traced to a form of epistemic self-defeat that also explains the paradoxicality of ordinary Moore-paradoxical statements. 3. Although a simple form of internalism about moral judgment and motivation can explain the paradoxicality of these moral equivalents, a more plausible explanation can be provided that does not rely on this simple form of internalism. 4. The paradoxicality of such statements suggests a more credible understanding of the thesis that those who are not motivated by their moral judgments are irrational. (shrink)
Moore’s paradox is the fact that assertions or beliefs such asBangkok is the capital of Thailand but I do not believe that Bangkok is the capital of Thailand or Bangkok is the capital of Thailand but I believe that Bangkok is not the capital of Thailandare ‘absurd’ yet possibly true. The current orthodoxy is that an explanation of the absurdity should first start with belief, on the assumption that once the absurdity in belief has been explained then this will (...) translate into an explanation of the absurdity in assertion. This assumption gives explanatory priority to belief over assertion. I show that the translation involved is much trickier than might at first appear. It is simplistic to think that Moorean absurdity in assertion is always a subsidiary product of the absurdity in belief, even when the absurdity is conceived as irrationality. Instead we should aim for explanations of Moorean absurdity in assertion and in belief that are independent even if related, while bearing in mind that some forms of irrationality may be forms of absurdity even if not conversely. (shrink)
Is there a Moore’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss putative (...) examples of rational and irrational desires, suggesting that there are norms of rational desire. Then I examine David Wall’s groundbreaking argument that Moorean desires are always unreasonable. Next I show against this that there are rational as well as irrational Moorean desires. Those that are irrational are also absurd, although there seem to be absurd desires that are not irrational. I conclude that certain norms of rational desire should be rejected. (shrink)
John Turri gives an example that he thinks refutes what he takes to be “G. E. Moore's view” that omissive assertions such as “It is raining but I do not believe that it is raining” are “inherently ‘absurd'”. This is that of Ellie, an eliminativist who makes such assertions. Turri thinks that these are perfectly reasonable and not even absurd. Nor does she seem irrational if the sincerity of her assertion requires her to believe its content. A commissive counterpart (...) of Ellie is Di, a dialetheist who asserts or believes that The Russell set includes itself but I believe that it is not the case that the Russell set includes itself. Since any adequate explanation of Moore'sparadox must handle commissive assertions and beliefs as well as omissive ones, it must deal with Di as well as engage Ellie. I give such an explanation. I argue that neither Ellie's assertion nor her belief is irrational yet both are absurd. Likewise neither Di's assertion nor her belief is irrational yet in contrast neither is absurd. I conclude that not all Moore-paradoxical assertions or beliefs are irrational and that the syntax of Moore's examples is not sufficient for the absurdity found in them. (shrink)
Shoemaker argues that a satisfactory resolution of Moore'sparadox requires a _self-intimation thesis that posits a "constitutive relation between belief and believing that one believes." He claims that such a thesis is needed to explain the crucial fact that the assent conditions for '_P' entail those for '_I believe that P'. This paper argues for an alternative resolution of Moore'sparadox that provides for an adequate explanation of the crucial fact without relying on the kind of (...) necessary connection between first and second-order beliefs that is posited by Shoemaker's self-intimation thesis. (shrink)
Propositions such as <It is raining, but I do not believe that it is raining> are paradoxical, in that even though they can be true, they cannot be truly asserted or believed. This is Moore’s paradox. Sydney Shoemaker has recently ar- gued that the paradox arises from a constitutive relation that holds between ﬁrst- and second-order beliefs. This paper explores this approach to the paradox. Although Shoemaker’s own account of the paradox is rejected, a diﬀerent account (...) along similar lines is endorsed. At the core of the endorsed account is the claim that conscious beliefs are always partly about themselves; it will be shown to follow from this that conscious beliefs in Moorean propositions are self-contradictory. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
I show how the 'innersense' (quasiperceptual) view of introspection can be defended against Shoemaker's influential 'argument from selfblindness'. If introspection and perception are analogous, the relationship between beliefs and introspective knowledge of them is merely contingent. Shoemaker argues that this implies the possibility that agents could be selfblind, i.e., could lack any introspective awareness of their own mental states. By invoking Moore'sparadox, he rejects this possibility. But because Shoemaker's discussion conflates introspective awareness and selfknowledge, he cannot establish (...) his conclusion. There is thirdperson evidence available to the selfblind which Shoemaker ignores, and it can account for the considerations from Moore'sparadox that he raises. (shrink)
I supply an argument for Evans's principle that whatever justifies me in believing that p also justifies me in believing that I believe that p. I show how this principle helps explain how I come to know my own beliefs in a way that normally makes me the best authority on them. Then I show how the principle helps to solve Moore's paradoxes.
Thomason (1979/2010)’s argument against competence psychologism in semantics envisages a representation of a subject’s competence as follows: he understands his own language in the sense that he can identify the semantic content of each of its sentences, which requires that the relation between expression and content be recursive. Then if the scientist constructs a theory that is meant to represent the body of the subject’s beliefs, construed as assent to the content of the pertinent sentences, and that theory satisfies certain (...) ‘natural assumptions’, then it implies that the subject is inconsistent if the beliefs include arithmetic. I challenge the result by insisting that the motivation for Thomason’s principle (ii), via Moore’s Paradox, leads to a more complex representation, in which stating the facts and expressing one’s beliefs are treated differently. Certain logical connections among expressions of assent, and between expression and statement, are a matter of consequence on pain of pragmatic incoherence, not consequence on pain of classical logical inconsistency. But while this salvages the possibility that a modification of the above sort of representation could be adequate, Thomason’s devastating conclusion returns if the scientist identifies himself as the subject of that representation, even when paying heed to the requirement of pragmatic coherence of the sort highlighted by Moore’s Paradox. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously observed that to assert ‘I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I do not believe that I did’ would be ‘absurd’. Moore calls it a ‘paradox’ that this absurdity persists despite the fact that what I say about myself might be true. Krista Lawlor and John Perry have proposed an explanation of the absurdity that confines itself to semantic notions while eschewing pragmatic ones. We argue that this explanation faces four objections. We give a (...) better explanation of the absurdity both in assertion and in belief that avoids our four objections. (shrink)
Moore'sparadox pits our intuitions about semantic oddnessagainst the concept of truth-functional consistency. Most solutions tothe problem proceed by explaining away our intuitions. But``consistency'' is a theory-laden concept, having different contours indifferent semantic theories. Truth-functional consistency is appropriateonly if the semantic theory we are using identifies meaning withtruth-conditions. I argue that such a framework is not appropriate whenit comes to analzying epistemic modality. I show that a theory whichaccounts for a wide variety of semantic data about epistemic modals(Update (...) Semantics) buys us a solution to Moore'sparadox as a corollary.It turns out that Moorean propositions, when looked at through the lenseof an appropriate semantic theory, are inconsistent after all. (shrink)
One version of Moore’s Paradox is the challenge to account for the absurdity of beliefs purportedly expressed by someone who asserts sentences of the form ‘p & I do not believe that p’ (‘Moorean sentences’). The absurdity of these beliefs is philosophically puzzling, given that Moorean sentences (i) are contingent and often true; and (ii) express contents that are unproblematic when presented in the third-person. In this paper I critically examine the most popular proposed solution to these two puzzles, (...) according to which Moorean beliefs are absurd because Moorean sentences are instances of pragmatic paradox; that is to say, the propositions they express are necessarily false-when-believed. My conclusion is that while a Moorean belief is a pragmatic paradox, it is not just another pragmatic paradox, because this diagnosis does not explain all the puzzling features of Moorean beliefs. In particularly, while this analysis is plausible in relation to the puzzle posed by characteristic (i) of Moorean sentences, I argue that it fails to account for (ii). I do so in the course of an attempt to formulate the definition of a pragmatic paradox in more precise formal terms, in order to see whether the definition is satisfied by Moorean sentences, but not by their third-person transpositions. For only an account which can do so could address (ii) adequately. After rejecting a number of attempted formalizations, I arrive at a definition which delivers the right results. The problem with this definition, however, is that it has to be couched in first-person terms, making an essential use of ‘I’. Thus the problem of accounting for first-/third-person asymmetry recurs at a higher order, which shows that the Pragmatic Paradox Resolution fails to identify the source of such asymmetry highlighted by Moore’s Paradox. (shrink)
Moore'sparadox pits our intuitions about semantic oddness against the concept of truth-functional consistency. Most solutions to the problem proceed by explaining away our intuitions. But "consistency" is a theory-laden concept, having different contours in different semantic theories. Truth-functional consistency is appropriate only if the semantic theory we are using identifies meaning with truth-conditions. I argue that such a framework is not appropriate when it comes to analyzing epistemic modality. I show that a theory which accounts for a (...) wide variety of semantic data about epistemic modals (update semantics) buys us a solution to Moore'sparadox as a corollary. It turns out that Moorean propositions, when looked at through the lense of an appropriate semantic theory, are inconsistent after all. (shrink)
On the basis of arguments showing that none of the most influential analyses of Moore’s paradox yields a successful resolution of the problem, a new analysis of it is offered. It is argued that, in attempting to render verdicts of either inconsistency or self-contradiction or self-refutation, those analyses have all failed to satisfactorily explain why a Moore-paradoxical proposition is such that it cannot be rationally believed. According to the proposed solution put forward here, a Moore-paradoxical proposition is one for (...) which the believer can have no non-overridden evidence. The arguments for this claim make use of some of Peter Klein’s views on epistemic defeasibility. It is further suggested that this proposal may have important meta-epistemological implications. (shrink)
I offer a model of self-knowledge that provides a solution to Moore’s paradox. First, I distinguish two versions of the paradox and I discuss two approaches to it, neither of which solves both versions of the paradox. Next, I propose a model of self-knowledge according to which, when I have a certain belief, I form the higher-order belief that I have it on the basis of the very evidence that grounds my first-order belief. Then, I argue that (...) the model in question can account for both versions of Moore’s paradox. Moore’s paradox, I conclude, tells us something about our conceptions of rationality and self-knowledge. For it teaches us that we take it to be constitutive of being rational that one can have privileged access to one’s own mind and it reveals that having privileged access to one’s own mind is a matter of forming first-order beliefs and corresponding second-order beliefs on the same basis. (shrink)
This paper explores Wittgenstein's attempts to explain the peculiarities of the first-person use of 'believe' that manifest themselves in Moore'sparadox, discussed in Philosophical Investigations, Part II, section x. An utterance of the form 'p and I do not believe that p' is a kind of contradiction, for the second conjunct is not, as it might appear, just a description of my mental state, but an expression of my belief that not-p, contradicting the preceding expression of my belief (...) that p. Thus, 'I believe that p' is just a stylistic variant of 'p'; the word 'believe' doesn't seem to have a substantial role to play in such an utterance. Following Wittgenstein, I discuss why there could not be a first-person present-tense use of the word that was more akin to its use in the third person: why it is impossible to describe one's own current beliefs in a detached manner without thereby expressing them. In the final section, I try to develop Wittgenstein's suggestion that the non-epistemic authority we have regarding the contents of our beliefs can be clarified by considering its link with intention and action. (shrink)
The nature of conceptual analysis is elucidated by a proposed solution to moore'sparadox of analysis. Occurrent, Dispositional, And property concepts are distinguished, And the notion of epistemic gain is introduced and explained. It is shown that although a correct analysis equates property concepts this is done with epistemic gain. It is argued that in a correct analysis there must be no identity between analysans and analysandum in respect to occurrent concepts. The relevance of thought experiments to conceptual (...) analysis is discussed and it is concluded that conceptual analysis consists of a transformation of knowledge how into knowledge that. (shrink)
The ﬁrst case is usually referred to as omissive and the second as commissive. What is traditionally perceived as paradoxical is that although such statements may well be true, asserting them is clearly absurd. An account of Moore’s Paradox is an explanation of the absurdity. In the last twenty years, there has also been a focus on the incoherence of judging or believing such propositions.
Moore'sparadox arises from the logicaloddity of sentences of the form`P and I do not believe that P'or `P and I believe that not-P'. Thiskind of sentence is logically peculiarbecause it is absurd to assert it, although it isnot a logical contradiction. In this paperI offer a new proposal. I argue that Moore'sparadox arises because there is a defaultprocedure for evaluating a self-ascribed belief sentence and one is presumptivelyjustified in believing that one believes a sentence (...) when one sincerely assents to it. (shrink)
In this journal, Hamid Vahid argues against three families of explanation of Moore-paradoxicality. The first is the Wittgensteinian approach; I assert that p just in case I assert that I believe that p. So making a Moore-paradoxical assertion involves contradictory assertions. The second is the epistemic approach, one committed to: if I am justified in believing that p then I am justified in believing that I believe that p. So it is impossible to have a justified omissive Moore-paradoxical belief. The (...) third is the conscious belief approach, being committed to: if I consciously believe that p then I believe that I believe that p. So if I have a conscious omissive Moore-paradoxical belief, then I have contradictory second-order beliefs. In their place, Vahid argues for the defective-interpretation approach, broadly that charity requires us to discount the utterer of a Moore-paradoxical sentence as a speaker. I agree that the Wittgensteinian approach is unsatisfactory. But so is the defective-interpretation approach. However, there is a satisfactory version of each of the epistemic and conscious-belief approaches. (shrink)
On the basis of arguments showing that none of the most influential analyses of Moore'sparadox yields a successful resolution of the problem, a new analysis of it is offered. It is argued that, in attempting to render verdicts of either inconsistency or self-contradiction or self-refutation, those analyses have all failed to satisfactorily explain why a Moore-paradoxical proposition is such that it cannot be rationally believed. According to the proposed solution put forward here, a Moore-paradoxical proposition is one (...) for which the believer can have no non-overridden evidence. The arguments for this claim make use of some of Peter Klein's views on epistemic defeasibility. It is further suggested that this proposal may have important meta-epistemological implications. (shrink)
Moore’s paradox occurs with sentences, such as (1) It’s raining and I don’t think it’s raining. which are self-defeating in a way that prevents one from making an asser- tion with them.1 But Mark Crimmins has given us a case of a sentence that is syntactically just like (1) but is nonetheless assertible. Suppose I know somebody, and know or have excellent reason to believe that I know that very person under some other guise. I do not know what (...) that other guise is, though I do know that I believe that the person I know under that other guise is an idiot. (shrink)
Moore’s paradox in belief is the fact that beliefs of the form ‘ p and I do not believe that p ’ are ‘absurd’ yet possibly true. Writers on the paradox have nearly all taken the absurdity to be a form of irrationality. These include those who give what Timothy Chan calls the ‘pragmatic solution’ to the paradox. This solution turns on the fact that having the Moorean belief falsifies its content. Chan, who also takes the absurdity (...) to be a form of irrationality, objects to this solution by arguing that it is circular and thus incomplete. This is because it must explain why Moorean beliefs are irrational yet, according to Chan, their grammatical third-person transpositions are not, even though the same proposition is believed. But the solution can only explain this asymmetry by relying on a formulation of the ground of the irrationality of Moorean beliefs that presupposes precisely such asymmetry. I reply that it is neither necessary nor sufficient for the irrationality that the contents of Moorean beliefs be restricted to the grammatical first-person. What has to be explained is rather that such grammatical non-first-person transpositions sometimes, but not always, result in the disappearance of irrationality. Describing this phenomenon requires the grammatical first-person/non-first person distinction. The pragmatic solution explains the phenomenon once it is formulated in de se terms. But the grammatical first-person/non-first-person distinction is independent of, and a fortiori, different from, the de se /non- de se distinction presupposed by pragmatic solution, although both involve the first person broadly construed. Therefore the pragmatic solution is not circular. Building on the work of Green and Williams I also distinguish between the irrationality of Moorean beliefs and their absurdity. I argue that while all irrational Moorean beliefs are absurd, some Moorean beliefs are absurd but not irrational. I explain this absurdity in a way that is not circular either. (shrink)
The author discusses solutions to Moore’s Paradox by Moore and Wittgenstein and then offers one of his own: ‘I believe that P’ and ‘not-P’ can both be true but nonetheless are not epistemically compatible; that is, it is logically impossible simultaneously to have sufficient evidence to justify assertions of each. The author then argues that similar transgressions are committed by other “paradoxical” utterances whose paradoxicality cannot be explained by the Moore or Wittgenstein solutions and also that this provides a (...) technique that can be useful in studying the epistemic requirements for justified assertion. (shrink)
RESUMEN: Este trabajo ofrece una lectura de la Paradoja de Moore que pone énfasis en su relevancia para nuestra comprensión de la racionalidad y de la interpretación lingüística. Mantiene que las oraciones que dan origen a la paradoja no necesitan entenderse en términos de ausencia de una contradicción, sino más bien en términos de ausencia de racionalidad, entendida esta como un término más amplio que el de coherencia y consistencia lógica. Se defenderá tal posición por medio de tres tesis, dos (...) de las cuales se derivan de los enfoques dominantes (aunque insuficientes) a la paradoja: el de Moore, el de Wittgenstein y el de Shoemaker.ABSTRACT: This paper offers an interpretation of Moore’s Paradox that emphasizes its relevance for our understanding of rationality and linguistic interpretation. The sentences that originate the paradox do not need to be thought of in terms of the absence of a contradiction, but in terms of absence of rationality, where rationality is understood as a broader notion than coherence and logical consistency. This is defended through three theses, two of which stem from the dominant (but insufficient) approaches to the paradox: Moore’s, Wittgenstein’s and Shoemaker’s. (shrink)
Abstract: Moore's sentences of the form "P & ∼I believe that P" and "P & I believe that ∼P" are thought to be paradoxical because they cannot be properly asserted despite being possibly true. Solutions to the paradox usually explain the oddity of such sentences in terms of phenomena as diverse as the pragmatics of speech acts, nature of belief or justification. In this paper I shall argue that despite their seemingly different approaches to the problem, there is (...) a single strategy that underlies all such proposals. Having criticized these suggestions, I shall defend my own solution according to which Moorean sentences are defective not because of some associated logical impropriety but because their assertion violates a certain interpretive constraint, viz., the principle of charity, on an adequate theory of meaning. (shrink)
Moore's proof of an external world is a piece of reasoning whose premises, in context, are true and warranted and whose conclusion is perfectly acceptable, and yet immediately seems flawed. I argue that neither Wright's nor Pryor's readings of the proof can explain this paradox. Rather, one must take the proof as responding to a sceptical challenge to our right to claim to have warrant for our ordinary empirical beliefs, either for any particular empirical belief we might have, (...) or for belief in the existence of an external world itself. I show how Wright's and Pryor's positions are of interest when taken in connection with Humean scepticism, but that it is only linking it with Cartesian scepticism which can explain why the proof strikes us as an obvious failure. (shrink)
Moore’s proof of an external world is a piece of reasoning whose premises, in context, are true and warranted and whose conclusion is perfectly acceptable, and yet immediately seems flawed. I argue that neither Wright’s nor Pryor’s readings of the proof can explain this paradox. Rather, one must take the proof as responding to a sceptical challenge to our right to claim to have warrant for our ordinary empirical beliefs, either for any particular empirical belief we might have, or (...) for belief in the existence of an external world itself. I show how Wright’s and Pryor’s positions are of interest when taken in connection with Humean scepticism, but that it is only linking it with Cartesian scepticism which can explain why the proof strikes us as an obvious failure. (shrink)
G. E. Moore observed that to assert, 'I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don't believe that I did' would be 'absurd'. Over half a century later, such sayings continue to perplex philosophers. In the definitive treatment of the famous paradox, Green and Williams explain its history and relevance and present new essays by leading thinkers in the area.
G. E. Moore famously noted that saying 'I went to the movies, but I don't believe it' is absurd, while saying 'I went to the movies, but he doesn't believe it' is not in the least absurd. The problem is to explain this fact without supposing that the semantic contribution of 'believes' changes across first-person and third-person uses, and without making the absurdity out to be merely pragmatic. We offer a new solution to the paradox. Our solution is that (...) the truth conditions of any moorean utterance contradict its accuracy conditions. Thus we diagnose a contradiction in how the moorean utterance represents things as being; so we can do justice to the intuition that a Moore-paradoxical utterance is in some way senseless, even if we know what proposition it expresses. (shrink)
As G. E. Moore famously observed, sentences such as 'It's raining but I don't think it is', though they aren't contradictory, cannot be used to make coherent assertions.' The trouble with such sentences is not a matter of their truth conditions; such sentences can readily be true. Indeed, it happens often enough with each of us that we think, for example, that it isn't raining even though it is. This shows that such sentences are not literally contradictory. But even though (...) such sentences have unproblematic truth conditions, we cannot say the same about their conditions of assertibility. There are no circumstances in which one can use such sentences to perform coherent assertoric speech acts. Situations exist in which these sentences would be true, but none in which anybody could use them to say so. (shrink)
In this journal, Hamid Vahid argues against three families of explanation of Mooreparadoxicality. The ﬁrst is the Wittgensteinian approach; I assert that p just in case I assert that I believe that p. So making a Moore-paradoxical assertion involves contradictory assertions. The second is the epistemic approach, one committed to: if I am justiﬁed in believing that p then I am justiﬁed in believing that I believe that p. So it is impossible to have a justiﬁed omissive Mooreparadoxical belief. The (...) third is the conscious belief approach, being committed to: if I consciously believe that p then I believe that I believe that p. So if I have a conscious omissive Moore-paradoxical belief, then I have contradictory second-order beliefs. In their place, Vahid argues for the defective- interpretation approach, broadly that charity requires us to discount the utterer of a Mooreparadoxical sentence as a speaker. I agree that the Wittgensteinian approach is unsatisfactory. But so is the defective-interpretation approach. However, there is a satisfactory version of each of the epistemic and conscious-belief approaches. (shrink)
In a recent article in Theoria , Hamid Vahid offered an explanation of the phenomenon of Moore-paradoxicality which employed Davidson's Principle of Charity regarding radical interpretation. I argue here that Vahid's explanation fails.
I offer a novel account of the absurdity of Moore-paradoxical assertion in terms of an interlocutor’s fully conscious beliefs. This account starts with an original argument for the principle that fully conscious belief collects over conjunction. The argument is premised on the synchronic unity of consciousness and the transparency of belief.
A fictionalist attitude towards an area of discourse encourages us to assent to certain sentences of that discourse without believing that they are true. Prima facie, this amounts to a suggestion that we should also assent to sentences of the form 'S but I don't believe that S'. Traditional versions of fictionalism have an answer to this challenge, but I argue that the answer is unavailable for a currently popular type of fictionalism. This is bad news for fictionalism in general (...) because the currently popular variety is the one that deals best with the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an increasing literature strengthening the connection between epistemic logic and epistemology (Van Benthem, Hendricks). I give a survey of the most important applications of epistemic logic in epistemology. I show how it is used in the history of philosophy (Steiner's reconstruction of Descartes' sceptical argument), in solutions to Moore'sparadox (Hintikka), in discussions about the relation between knowledge and belief (Lenzen) and in an alleged refutation of verificationism (Fitch) and I examine an early argument (...) about the (im)possibility of epistemic logic (Hocutt). Subsequently, I deal with interpretive questions about epistemic logic that, although implicitly, already appeared in the first section. I contend that a conception of epistemic logic as a theory of knowledge assertions is incoherent, and I argue that it does not make sense to adopt a normative interpretation of epistemic logic. Finally, I show ways to extend epistemic logic with other branches of philosophical logic so as to make it useful for some epistemological questions. Conditional logics and logics of public announcement are used to understand causal theories of knowledge and versions of reliabilism. Temporal logic helps understand some dynamic aspects of knowledge as well as the verificationist thesis. (shrink)
I argue that the accounts of inference recently presented (in this journal) by Paul Boghossian, John Broome, and Crispin Wright are unsatisfactory. I proceed in two steps: First, in Sects. 1 and 2, I argue that we should not accept what Boghossian calls the “Taking Condition on inference” as a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. I present a different condition of adequacy and argue that it is superior to the one offered by Boghossian. More precisely, I point out (...) that there is an analog of Moore’s Paradox for inference; and I suggest that explaining this phenomenon is a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. Boghossian’s Taking Condition derives its plausibility from the fact that it apparently explains the analog of Moore’s Paradox. Second, in Sect. 3, I show that neither Boghossian’s, nor Broome’s, nor Wright’s account of inference meets my condition of adequacy. I distinguish two kinds of mistake one is likely to make if one does not focus on my condition of adequacy; and I argue that all three—Boghossian, Broome, and Wright—make at least one of these mistakes. (shrink)
The oddities in lottery cases and Moore’s paradox appear to support the knowledge account of assertion, according to which one should assert only what one knows. This paper preserves an emphasis on epistemic norms but presents grounds for an alternative explanation. The alternative divides the explanandum, explaining the error in lottery and Moorean assertions with one move and their deeper incoherence with another. The error derives from a respect in which the assertions are uninformative: the speaker is not being (...) appropriately responsive to her addressee’s epistemic needs. And the incoherence derives from a deeper respect in which lottery and some (but not all) Moorean assertions are uninformative: it is difficult to see how the speaker’s assertion could express any judgment she has made or would relevantly make, since she transparently lacks epistemic authority to inform any conceivable interlocutor on the subject. This diagnosis suggests an epistemic approach not directly to assertion but to judgment. Without judging that p, how could a speaker be in the business of informing her addressee that p? If the speaker transparently lacks authority to inform anyone whether p – to give anyone her word that p – how could she without confusion count as judging that p? (shrink)