Dialectica 70 (3):375-405 (2016)

Eric Marcus
Auburn University
Most agree that believing a proposition normally or ideally results in believing that one believes it, at least if one considers the question of whether one believes it. I defend a much stronger thesis. It is impossible to believe without knowledge of one's belief. I argue, roughly, as follows. Believing that p entails that one is able to honestly assert that p. But anyone who is able to honestly assert that p is also able to just say – i.e., authoritatively, yet not on the basis of evidence – that she believes that p. And anyone who is able to just say that she believes that p is able to act in light of the fact that she holds that belief. This ability to act, in turn, constitutes knowledge of the psychological fact. However, without a broader theory of belief to help us make sense of this result, this conclusion will be hard to accept. Why should being in a particular mental state by itself necessitate an awareness of being in that state? I sketch a theory that helps to answer this question: believing is a matter of viewing a proposition as what one ought to believe. I show how this theory explains the thesis that to believe is to know that you believe.
Keywords Belief  Self-Knowledge  Assertion  Avowal  Self-Deception  Rationality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12144
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Assertion and Transparent Self-Knowledge.Eric Marcus & John Schwenkler - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (7):873-889.
Deferring to Others About One's Own Mind.Casey Doyle - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):432-452.
The Puzzle of Transparency and How to Solve It.Wolfgang Barz - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (7):916-935.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Product of Self-Deception.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (3):419 - 437.
Belief is Weak.John Hawthorne, Daniel Rothschild & Levi Spectre - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1393-1404.
'Strong' Self‐Deception.David Pugmire - 1969 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 12 (1-4):339-346.
Self-Intimation.Sydney Shoemaker - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):315-327.
Believing at Will is Possible.Rik Peels - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18.
Thinking and Believing in Self-Deception.Kent Bach - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):105-105.
Lying, Belief, and Knowledge.Matthew A. Benton - 2019 - In Jörg Meibauer (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 120-133.
Nondoxasticism About Self‐Deception.Sophie Archer - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (3):265-282.
The Basic Notion of Justification.Jonathan L. Kvanvig & Christopher Menzel - 1990 - Philosophical Studies 59 (3):235-261.
Nonbelief and the Desire-as-Belief Thesis.Charles B. Cross - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (2):115-124.
Knowledge with and Without Belief.Michael Veber - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (1):120-132.
Two Ways to Put Knowledge First.Alexander Jackson - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):353 - 369.


Added to PP index

Total views
415 ( #19,195 of 2,439,023 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
34 ( #21,943 of 2,439,023 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes