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    Naughty beliefs

    Huddleston, Andrew (2012) Naughty beliefs. Philosophical Studies 160 (2), pp. 209-222. ISSN 0031-8116.

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    Abstract

    Can a person ever occurrently believe p and yet have the simultaneous, occurrent belief q that this very belief that p is false? Surely not, most would say: that description of a person’s epistemic economy seems to misunderstand the very concept of belief. In this paper I question this orthodox assumption. There are, I suggest, cases where we have a first-order mental state m that involves taking the world to be a certain way, yet although we ourselves acknowledge that we are in m, we reflectively disavow m’s propositional content. If such an epistemic stance is possible, does this irrationally persistent first-order state m really deserve the title of “belief,” or should it instead be classified under some other, less doxastic appellation? I argue in this paper that the “belief” terminology is warranted, and thus, that we can be correctly described as having the second-order belief that a specific first-order belief that we nonetheless continue to hold is false. In such cases, our first-order state is what I refer to as a naughty belief. Like naughty toddlers, naughty beliefs are recalcitrant in the face of epistemic authority.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 15:01
    Last Modified: 11 Nov 2014 15:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/10952

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