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A puzzle about belief

In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83 (1979)

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  1. What Would It Mean for Natural Language to Be the Language of Thought?Gabe Dupre - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (4):773-812.
    Traditional arguments against the identification of the language of thought with natural language assume a picture of natural language which is largely inconsistent with that suggested by contemporary linguistic theory. This has led certain philosophers and linguists to suggest that this identification is not as implausible as it once seemed. In this paper, I discuss the prospects for such an identification in light of these developments in linguistic theory. I raise a new challenge against the identification thesis: the existence of (...)
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  • Psychophysical Supervenience: Its Epistemological Foundation.Joseph Owens - 1992 - Synthese 90 (1):89-117.
    My primary goal in this paper is to focus attention on a certain conception of internal access, on the Cartesian conception that a rational subject's capacity to determine sameness and difference in explicit propositional attitudes is independent of knowledge of the external world. This conception of introspection plays a crucial, if unacknowledged, role in numerous arguments and theoretical positions. In particular, it plays a large role in motivating psychological internalism. I argue in favor of rejecting this epistemology and the internalism (...)
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  • Semantics with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book combines insights from philosophy and linguistics to develop a novel framework for theorizing about linguistic meaning and the role of context in interpretation. A key innovation is to introduce explicit representations of context — assignment variables — in the syntax and semantics of natural language. The proposed theory systematizes a spectrum of “shifting” phenomena in which the context relevant for interpreting certain expressions depends on features of the linguistic environment. Central applications include local and nonlocal contextual dependencies with (...)
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  • Frege’s Puzzle and Act-Based Propositions.Nikhil Mahant - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    I argue that the act-based accounts of propositions, like the one defended by Soames, cannot be used to address Frege’s Puzzle without also giving up the Millian view of names. I begin by identifying two puzzles—both of which have been called Frege’s puzzle—and discuss the act-based theorist’s solution to the first puzzle. I then raise an objection against the solution and argue that it cannot be overcome unless a concession is made. Making the concession, however, would make it impossible for (...)
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  • Anti-Individualism and Transparency.Vojislav Bozickovic - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2551-2564.
    Anti-individualists hold that having a thought with a certain intentional content is a relational rather than an intrinsic property of the subject. Some anti-individualists also hold that thought-content serves to explain the subject’s cognitive perspective. Since there seems to be a tension between these two views, much discussed in the philosophical literature, attempts have been made to resolve it. In an attempt to reconcile these views, and in relation to perception-based demonstrative thoughts, Stalnaker (Our knowledge of the internal world, Oxford (...)
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  • Coalescent theories and divergent paraphrases: definites, non-extensional contexts, and familiarity.Francesco Pupa - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    A recent challenge to Russell’s theory of definite description centers upon the divergent behavior of definites and their Russellian paraphrases in non-extensional contexts. Russellians can meet this challenge, I argue, by incorporating the familiarity theory of definiteness into Russell’s theory. The synthesis of these two seemingly incompatible theories produces a conceptually consistent and empirically powerful framework. As I show, the coalescence of Russellianism and the familiarity theory of definiteness stands as a legitimate alternative to both Traditional Russellianism and alternative semantic (...)
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  • Shannon + Friston = Content: Intentionality in Predictive Signaling Systems.Carrie Figdor - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    What is the content of a mental state? This question poses the problem of intentionality: to explain how mental states can be about other things, where being about them is understood as representing them. A framework that integrates predictive coding and signaling systems theories of cognitive processing offers a new perspective on intentionality. On this view, at least some mental states are evaluations, which differ in function, operation, and normativity from representations. A complete naturalistic theory of intentionality must account for (...)
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  • Repeated Independent Discovery and ‘Objective Evidence’ in Science: An Example From Geology.A. M. C. Sengor - 2006 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 244:113.
  • Uttering Moorean Sentences and the Pragmatics of Belief Reports.Frank Hong - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1879-1895.
    Moore supposedly discovered that there are sentences of a certain form that, though they can be true, no rational human being can sincerely and truly utter any of them. MC and MO are particular instances:MC: “It is raining and I believe that it is not raining”MO: “It is raining and I don’t believe that it is raining”In this paper, I show that there are sentences of the same form as MC and MO that can be sincerely and truly uttered by (...)
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  • Reference and Incomplete Descriptions.Antonio Capuano - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1669-1687.
    In “On Referring” Peter Strawson pointed out that incomplete descriptions pose a problem for Russell’s analysis of definite descriptions. Howard Wettstein and Michael Devitt appealed to incomplete descriptions to argue, first, that Russell’s analysis of definite descriptions fails, and second, that Donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction has semantic bite. Stephen Neale has defended Russell’s analysis of definite descriptions against Wettstein’s and Devitt’s objections. In this paper, my aim is twofold. First, I rebut Neale’s objections to Wettstein’s and Devitt’s argument and argue that (...)
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  • Schmidentity and Informativity.Hannes Fraissler - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.
    Although Kripke’s œuvre has had a major impact on analytic philosophy and nearly every aspect of his studies has been thoroughly examined, this does not hold for his schmidentity argument, which, so far, has been widely neglected. To the extent to which it has been treated at all, it has been for the most part radically misunderstood. I hold that this argument, in its correctly reconstructed form, has general relevance for a treatment of Frege’s Puzzle and points towards a fundamental (...)
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  • Review: Soames on Kripke. [REVIEW]Stephen Yablo - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (3):451 - 460.
  • Understanding and Disagreement in Belief Ascription.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (2):183-200.
    It seems uncontroversial that Dalton wrongly believed that atoms are indivisible. However, the correct analysis of Dalton’s belief and the way it relates to contemporary beliefs about atoms is, on closer inspection, far from straightforward. In this paper, I introduce four features that any candidate analysis is plausibly bound to respect. I argue that theories that individuate concepts at the level of understanding are doomed to fail in this endeavor. I formally sketch an alternative and suggest that cases such as (...)
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  • Forms and Objects of Thought.Michael W. Pelczar - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (1):97-122.
    It is generally assumed that if it is possible to believe that p without believing that q, then there is some difference between the object of the thought that p and the object of the thought that q. This assumption is challenged in the present paper, opening the way to an account of epistemic opacity that improves on existing accounts, not least because it casts doubt on various arguments that attempt to derive startling ontological conclusions from seemingly innocent epistemic premises.
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  • Understanding Belief Reports.David Braun - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):555-595.
    In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory is Russellianism, sometimes also called `neo-Russellianism', `Millianism', `the direct reference theory', `the "Fido"-Fido theory', or `the naive theory'. The objection concernssubstitution of co-referring names in belief sentences. Russellianism implies that any two belief sentences, that differ only in containing distinct co-referring names, express the same proposition (in any given context). Since `Hesperus' and `Phosphorus' both refer to the planet Venus, this view implies that (...)
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  • The Transitivity of de Jure Coreference: A Case Against Pinillos.Chulmin Yoon - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2257-2277.
    De jure coreference in a discourse is typically understood as explicit coreference that speakers are required to recognize in order to count as having correctly understood the discourse. For example, in an utterance of the sentence ‘Tom went to the market because he needed soy milk’, the two underlined terms are typically coreferential in a way that appreciating their coreference is required to fully understand the utterance. Often, de jure coreference is understood as an equivalence relation, so in particular it (...)
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  • The Problem of Puzzling Pairs.Michael Nelson - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (3):319 - 350.
  • Complex Demonstratives.Josh Dever - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (3):271-330.
  • The Trouble with Two-Factor Conceptual Role Theories.Mark Perlman - 1997 - Minds and Machines 7 (4):495-513.
    Two-Factor conceptual role theories of mental content are often intended to allow mental representations to satisfy two competing requirements. One is the Fregean requirement that two representations, like public language expressions, can have different meanings even though they have the same reference (as in the case of ‘morning star’ and ‘evening star’). The other is Putnam's Twin-earth requirement that two representations or expressions can have the same conceptual role but differ in meaning due to differing references. But I argue that (...)
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  • Individualism, Individuation and That-Clauses.Martin Rechenauer - 1997 - Erkenntnis 46 (1):49-67.
    Brian Loar has argued that the well-known arguments against individualism in the philosophy of mind are insufficient because they rely on the assumption that that-clauses uniquely capture psychological content. He tried to show that this is not the use of that-clauses in philosophical psychology. I argue that he does not succeed in his argument. That-clauses sometimes capture psychological content, if our system of mental ascription is to be workable at all. I argue further that individualism tends to be at odds (...)
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  • Recurrence.Nathan Salmon - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (3):407-441.
    Standard compositionality is the doctrine that the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of the semantic contents of the contentful component expressions. In 1954 Hilary Putnam proposed that standard compositionality be replaced by a stricter version according to which even sentences that are synonymously isomorphic (in the sense of Alonzo Church) are not strictly synonymous unless they have the same logical form. On Putnam’s proposal, the semantic content of a compound expression is a function of: (i) the (...)
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  • Unanswerable Questions for Everyone: Reply to Inan.Philip Atkins & Tim Lewis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):263-271.
    Millianism is the familiar view that some expressions, such as proper names, contribute only their referent to the semantic content of sentences in which they occur. Inan (Philosophical Studies 2010) has recently argued that the Millian is committed to the following odd conclusion: There may be questions that he is able to grasp but that he cannot answer, either affirmatively, negatively, or with a simple I don’t know . The Millian is indeed committed to this conclusion. But we intend to (...)
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  • A Problem for Russellian Theories of Belief.Gary Ostertag - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):249 - 267.
    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 (...)
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  • Does Intentional Psychology Need Vindicating by Cognitive Science?Jonathan Knowles - 2001 - Minds and Machines 11 (3):347-377.
    I argue that intentional psychology does not stand in need of vindication by a lower-level implementation theory from cognitive science, in particular the representational theory of mind (RTM), as most famously Jerry Fodor has argued. The stance of the paper is novel in that I claim this holds even if one, in line with Fodor, views intentional psychology as an empirical theory, and its theoretical posits as as real as those of other sciences. I consider four metaphysical arguments for the (...)
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  • On the Explanatory Deficiencies of Linguistic Content.Bryan Frances - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 93 (1):45-75.
    The Burge-Putnam thought experiments have generated the thesis that beliefs are not fixed by the constitution of the body. However, many philosophers have thought that if this is true then there must be another content-like property. Even if the contents of our attitudes such as the one in ‘believes that aluminum is a light metal’, do not supervene on our physical makeups, nevertheless people who are physical duplicates must be the same when it comes to evaluating their rationality and explaining (...)
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  • Sentence-Relativity and the Necessary a Posteriori.Kai-Yee Wong - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):53 - 91.
  • Sensational Sentences Switched.Georges Rey - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (3):289 - 319.
  • (Direct) Reference.Ernesto Napoli - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (3):321 - 339.
  • Russell’s Eccentricity.J. P. Smit - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (2):275-293.
    Russell claims that ordinary proper names are eccentric, i.e. that the semantic referent of a name is determined by the descriptive condition that the individual utterer of the name associates with the name. This is deeply puzzling, for the evidence that names are subject to interpersonal coordination seems irrefutable. One way of making sense of Russell’s view would be to claim that he has been systematically misinterpreted and did not, in fact, offer a semantic theory at all. Such a view (...)
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  • Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes: Quine Revisited.Sean Crawford - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):75 - 96.
    Quine introduced a famous distinction between the ‘notional’ sense and the ‘relational’ sense of certain attitude verbs. The distinction is both intuitive and sound but is often conflated with another distinction Quine draws between ‘dyadic’ and ‘triadic’ (or higher degree) attitudes. I argue that this conflation is largely responsible for the mistaken view that Quine’s account of attitudes is undermined by the problem of the ‘exportation’ of singular terms within attitude contexts. Quine’s system is also supposed to suffer from the (...)
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  • Boghossian’s Inference Argument Against Content Externalism Reversed.Manuel PÉrez Otero - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):159-181.
    I deal here with one of Boghossian’s arguments against content externalism, related to our inferential rationality . According to his reasoning, the apriority of our logical abilities is inconsistent with certain externalist assumptions. Nevertheless, the problem constitutes an important challenge for any theory of content, not just for externalism. Furthermore, when we examine what internalists may propose to solve the problem, we see that externalists have at their disposal a more promising repertoire of possible replies than internalists. In that sense, (...)
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  • Boghossian’s Inference Argument Against Content Externalism Reversed.Manuel Pérez Otero - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):159-181.
    I deal here with one of Boghossian’s arguments against content externalism, related to our inferential rationality (to use his term). According to his reasoning, the apriority of our logical abilities is inconsistent with certain externalist assumptions. Nevertheless, the problem constitutes an important challenge for any theory of content, not just for externalism. Furthermore, when we examine what internalists may propose to solve the problem, we see that externalists have at their disposal a more promising repertoire of possible replies than internalists. (...)
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  • Updating as Communication.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):225-248.
    Traditional procedures for rational updating fail when it comes to self-locating opinions, such as your credences about where you are and what time it is. This paper develops an updating procedure for rational agents with self-locating beliefs. In short, I argue that rational updating can be factored into two steps. The first step uses information you recall from your previous self to form a hypothetical credence distribution, and the second step changes this hypothetical distribution to reflect information you have genuinely (...)
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  • First-Person Propositions.Peter W. Hanks - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):155-182.
    A first-person proposition is a proposition that only a single subject can assert or believe. When I assert ‘I am on fire’ I assert a first-person proposition that only I have access to, in the sense that no one else can assert or believe this proposition. This is in contrast to third-person propositions, which can be asserted or believed by anyone.
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  • Schopenhauer on the Content of Compassion.Colin Marshall - forthcoming - Noûs.
    On the traditional reading, Schopenhauer claims that compassion is the recognition of deep metaphysical unity. In this paper, I defend and develop the traditional reading. I begin by addressing three recent criticisms of the reading from Sandra Shapshay: that it fails to accommodate Schopenhauer's restriction to sentient beings, that it cannot explain his moral ranking of egoism over malice, and that Schopenhauer requires some level of distinction to remain in compassion. Against Shapshay, I argue that Schopenhauer does not restrict compassion (...)
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  • Variables and Attitudes.Bryan Pickel - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):333-356.
    The phenomenon of quantification into attitude ascriptions has haunted broadly Fregean views, according to which co-referential proper names are not always substitutable salva veritate in attitude ascriptions. Opponents of Fregeanism argue that a belief ascription containing a proper name such as ‘Michael believes that Lindsay is charitable’ is equivalent to a quantified sentence such as ‘there is someone such that Michael believes that she is charitable, and that person is Lindsay’. They conclude that the semantic contribution of a name such (...)
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  • Slurring Words.Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):25-48.
  • Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions: A Fregean Account.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):595-639.
    When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
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  • On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):561-586.
    Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
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  • Are Concepts Creatures of Darkness?Laura Schroeter - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (2):277-292.
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  • Concept Referentialism and the Role of Empty Concepts.Kevan Edwards - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (1):89-118.
    This paper defends a reference-based approach to concept individuation against the objection that such an approach is unable to make sense of concepts that fail to refer. The main line of thought pursued involves clarifying how the referentialist should construe the relationship between a concept's (referential) content and its role in mental processes. While the central goal of the paper is to defend a view aptly titled Concept Referentialism , broader morals are drawn regarding reference-based approaches in general. The paper (...)
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  • Meaning, Reference and Cognitive Significance.Kenneth A. Taylor - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (1-2):129-180.
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  • Fregean Innocence.Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Mind and Language 11 (4):338-370.
  • A Defense of De Re Belief Reports.Marga Reimer - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (4):446-463.
  • Pierre and the Fundamental Assumption.Joseph Owens - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (3):250-273.
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  • On Belief Content and That-Clauses.William W. Taschek - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (3):274-298.
  • Belief States and Narrow Content.Curtis Brown - 1993 - Mind and Language 8 (3):343-367.
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  • Belief States and Narrow Content.Curtis Brown - 1993 - Mind and Language 8 (3):343-67.
    The first thesis is that beliefs play a role in explaining behavior. This is reasonably uncontroversial, though it has been controverted. Why did I raise my arm? Because I wanted to emphasize a point, and believed that I could do so by raising my arm. The belief that I could emphasize a point by raising my arm is central to the most natural explanation of my action.
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  • Holism, Hyper-Analyticity and Hyper-Compositionality.Ned Block - 1993 - Mind and Language 8 (1):1-26.
  • Semantics and Discourse Representation.Richard Spencer-Smith - 1987 - Mind and Language 2 (1):1-26.