Moore's Paradox in Thought: A Critical Survey

Philosophy Compass 10 (1):24-37 (2015)
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It is raining but you don’t believe that it is raining. Imagine silently accepting this claim. Then you believe both that it is raining and that you don’t believe that it is raining. This would be an ‘absurd’ thing to believe,yet what you believe might be true. Itmight be raining, while at the same time, you are completely ignorant of the state of the weather. But how can it be absurd of you to believe something about yourself that might be true of you? This is Moore’s paradox as it occurs in thought. Solving the paradox consists in explaining why such beliefs are absurd. I give a survey of some of the main explanations. I largely deal with explanations of the absurdity of ‘omissive’ beliefs with contents of the form p & I don’t believe that p and of ‘commissive beliefs’ with contents of the form p & I believe that not-p as well as beliefs with contents of the form p & I don’t know that p.



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John N. Williams
Singapore Management University

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Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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Knowledge and lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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