Correct Belief

Allan Gibbard

in Meaning and Normativity

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646074
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741968 | DOI:
Correct Belief

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The chapter addresses a puzzle. In an objective sense, one ought to believe all and only what’s true. This loses the normative/natural distinction, making objective oughts conceptually equivalent to naturalistic claims. The needed ought ignores costs and limitations in reasoning. The subjective ought can’t be characterized in terms of objective oughts, but using Hare conditionals to characterize hypothetical imperatives, we can say this: The objective ought is what one ought subjectively to do were it that one ought to believe all that’s so. This involves an idealized self thinking herself the actual self. The special case of what one objectively ought to believe falls out immediately. The suppositions here may be counternormative as well as counterfactual. Putting meaning in terms of truth-conditions, it follows, will be empty. So we must characterize meanings in terms of subjective oughts. Oughts of advice come in a note at the end.

Keywords: objective ought; subjective ought; conditionals; counterfactual; counternormative; truth conditions; advice; hypothetical imperative

Chapter.  7367 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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