Authors
Brian MacPherson
University of Windsor
Abstract
David Lewis’s property-centered account of belief falls prey to the problem of egocentric omniscience: In self-ascribing the property of being an eye doctor, an agent is thereby self-ascribing the property of being an oculist. It is argued that the problem of egocentric omniscience can be made palatable for Lewis’s property-centered account of belief, at least for the case of linguistic beliefs. Roughly, my solution is as follows: An agent can believe that he or she has the property of being an eye doctor/oculist under the description ‘eye doctor’ without believing that he or she has this property under the description ‘oculist’. Believing that one has a property P under a description D involves the additional self-ascription of the propositional property of inhabiting a world with respect to which that description denotes the property P. This is not the same sort of solution as the one proposed for singular beliefs by Nathan Salmon. Unlike Salmon’s account, belief on the account I am defending is regarded as a two place-relation rather than a three-place relation. Since, on Lewis’s account, self-ascriptive belief subsumes de dicto belief, my solution also sheds light on the problem of logical omniscience
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2000_19
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