Ascent Routines for Propositional Attitudes

Synthese 159 (2):151 - 165 (2007)

Robert Gordon
University of Missouri, St. Louis
An ascent routine (AR) allows a speaker to self-ascribe a given propositional attitude (PA) by redeploying the process that generates a corresponding lower level utterance. Thus, we may report on our beliefs about the weather by reporting (under certain constraints) on the weather. The chief criticism of my AR account of self-ascription, by Alvin Goldman and others, is that it covers few if any PA’s other than belief and offers no account of how we can attain reliability in identifying our attitude as belief, desire, hope, etc., without presupposing some sort of recognition process. The criticism can be answered, but only by giving up a tacit—and wholly unnecessary—assumption that has influenced discussions of ascent routines. Abandoning the assumption allows a different account of ARs that avoids the criticism and even provides an algorithm for finding a corresponding lower level utterance for any PA. The account I give is supported by research on children’s first uses of a propositional attitude vocabulary
Keywords Self-ascription  Simulation theory  Beliefs  Propositional attitudes
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9202-9
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The Psychology of Folk Psychology.Alvin I. Goldman - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1):15-28.

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Introspection and Inference.Nicholas Silins - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):291-315.

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