Lewis on What Puzzling Pierre Does Not Believe

Authors
Michael McGlone
State University of New York (SUNY)
Abstract
In “What Puzzling Pierre Does not Believe”, Lewis ([4], 412‐4) argues that the sentences (1) Pierre believes that London is pretty and (2) Pierre believes that London is not pretty both truly describe Kripke’s well‐known situation involving puzzling Pierre ([3]). Lewis also argues that this situation is not one according to which Pierre believes either the proposition (actually) expressed by (3) London is pretty or the proposition (actually) expressed by (4) London is not pretty. These claims, Lewis suggests, provide a starting point from which a correct resolution of Kripke’s puzzles about belief ([3]) can be developed. At the end of his paper ([4], p. 414‐7), Lewis considers and replies to a number of potential objections to his position. According to one of these, Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐(4) cannot all be true because ‘believes that’ and ‘believes the proposition that’ are synonymous. Although the objection Lewis considers is unsound and his response to it correct, a minor variant of that objection provides significant reason to be skeptical of his contentions. This variant, moreover, is not persuasively addressed by anything either Lewis or any other well‐known defender of this sort of view (such as Stalnaker [8]) has had to say on the matter. All of this is relevant, moreover, not 2 only when it comes to assessing Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐ (4), but also when it comes to drawing lessons from certain standard objections to the view that the propositional objects of belief and assertion are sets of metaphysically possible worlds.
Keywords David Lewis  Robert Stalnaker  Propositions as Sets of Possible Worlds  Kripke's Puzzle About Belief
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