Is Radical Millianism Worth its Methodological Costs? A Critique of Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief

Philosophia 45 (1):73-100 (2017)

This article focuses on Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief as presented in his 2012 book Direct Belief. An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief. After regimenting Berg’s key theses and discussing the sources of their general unpopularity, I proceed to reconstruct Berg’s book-length argument for his conclusions. I here make explicit that Berg relies on a range of strong meta-semantic principles and assumptions. I conclude that even if Berg has brought considerable methodological rigor to the on-going debate over the semantics of natural language attitude ascriptions, and has proposed an elegant and consistent theory, he has not offered compelling reasons to accept his preferred methodological constraints in light of the difficulties, which those constraints impose upon attitude ascription semantics.
Keywords Berg, Jonathan  Belief  Semantics  Pragmatics  Attitude ascriptions  Millianism  Fregeanism  Meta-semantics  Psychological explanation
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-016-9740-9
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