Philosophy of Science 63 (3):338-373 (1996)

Authors
Paul Pietroski
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
We propose that the generalizations of linguistic theory serve to ascribe beliefs to humans. Ordinary speakers would explicitly (and sincerely) deny having these rather esoteric beliefs about language--e.g., the belief that an anaphor must be bound in its governing category. Such ascriptions can also seem problematic in light of certain theoretical considerations having to do with concept possession, revisability, and so on. Nonetheless, we argue that ordinary speakers believe the propositions expressed by certain sentences of linguistic theory, and that linguistics can therefore teach us something about belief as well as language. Rather than insisting that ordinary speakers lack the linguistic beliefs in question, philosophers should try to show how these empirically motivated belief ascriptions can be correct. We argue that Stalnaker's (1984) "pragmatic" account--according to which beliefs are dispositions, and propositions are sets of possible worlds--does just this. Moreover, our construal of explanation in linguistics motivates (and helps provide) responses to two difficulties for the pragmatic account of belief: the phenomenon of opacity, and the so-called problem of deduction.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/289916
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,815
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Against Alief.Eric Mandelbaum - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):197-211.
Intuitions in Linguistics.Michael Devitt - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):481-513.
Whither Experimental Semantics?Michael Devitt - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (1):5-36.
The Character of Natural Language Semantics.Paul M. Pietroski - 2003 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 217--256.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Natural Language and Virtual Belief.Keith Frankish - 1998 - In Peter Carruthers & Jill Boucher (eds.), Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 248.
Tacit Belief, Semantics and Grammar.Kent Johnson - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (1):57-91.
Knowledge of Grammar and Concept Possession.Edison Barrios - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):577-606.
Animal Belief.Roger Fellows - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (294):587-599.
Could Competent Speakers Really Be Ignorant of Their Language?Robert J. Matthews - 2006 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):457-467.
Ignorance Radicalized.Gergo Somodi - 2009 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2):140-156.
Belief and the Basis of Meaning.Donald Davidson - 1974 - Synthese 27 (July-August):309-323.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
74 ( #149,173 of 2,463,183 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,456 of 2,463,183 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes