Thinking and being sure

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (3):634-654 (2022)
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Abstract

How is what we believe related to how we act? That depends on what we mean by ‘believe’. On the one hand, there is what we're sure of: what our names are, where we were born, whether we are sitting in front of a screen. Surety, in this sense, is not uncommon — it does not imply Cartesian absolute certainty, from which no possible course of experience could dislodge us. But there are many things that we think that we are not sure of. For example, you might think that it will rain sometime this month, but not be sure that it will. Both what we're sure of and what we think have important normative connections to action. But the connections are quite different. This paper explores these issues with respect to assertion, inquiry, and decision making. We conclude by arguing that there is no theoretically significant notion of ‘full belief’ intermediate in strength between thinking and being sure.

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Author Profiles

Jeremy Goodman
University of Southern California
Ben Holguín
Johns Hopkins University

Citations of this work

Assertion and certainty.Alexander Dinges - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
Two accounts of assertion.Martin Smith - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-18.

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References found in this work

Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.

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