On a Neg‐Raising Fallacy in Determining Enthymematicity: If She Did not Believe or Want …

Metaphilosophy 45 (1):96-119 (2014)
Katarzyna Paprzycka-Hausman
University of Warsaw
Many arguments that show p to be enthymematic (in an argument for q) rely on claims like “if one did not believe that p, one would not have a reason for believing that q.” Such arguments are susceptible to the neg-raising fallacy. We tend to interpret claims like “X does not believe that p” as statements of disbelief (X's belief that not-p) rather than as statements of withholding the belief that p. This article argues that there is a tendency to equivocate in arguments for the enthymematicity of arguments (e.g., Lewis Carroll's paradox, Hume's problem) as well as in arguments for the enthymematicity of action explanations (e.g., arguments for psychologism and for explanatory individualism). The article concludes with a warning, because the equivocation is often helpful in teaching and because neg-raising verbs include philosophically vital verbs: desire, want, intend, think, suppose, imagine, expect, feel, seem, appear
Keywords Hume's problem  equivocation  enthymematicity  explanatory individualism  psychologism  desire  Lewis Carroll's paradox  neg‐raising fallacy  belief  negation
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DOI 10.1111/meta.12069
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Word and Object.W. V. Quine - 1960 - MIT Press.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Belief.Jaakko Hintikka - 1962 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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