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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


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This post comes uncomfortably close to the previous two about intentionality, and I am not sure we have satisfactorily reached consclusions on either.

In any case, Ockhamistas reject T3, obviously.

>> By (T3), Cicero has a certain property, the property of being believed by Sam to be a philosopher.

It is manifest and obvious and self-evident that there is no such property. It is a 'queer property', if you like. No scientific examination of Cicero, or his remains or anything like that, would uncover the existence of such a property. Whatever you believe, takes place in your brain cells. This is an effect of something external, and cannot, qua belief, impact the outside reality in any way. (Perhaps the belief may result in an action - e.g. my beliefs about David Cameron my result in an email to my MP, which may result in my doing something. But the belief on its own cannot affect Cameron in any way).

If I might say, Bill, you are not really picking up on the real weaknesses of the Ockhamist position. I discuss this here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/12/album-fuit-disputaturum.html .

I would deny D3. I think that's breaking the rules, but I am young and restless.

Sam does believe Tully is a philosopher, he just doesn't use the name "Tully" for whatever reason. I remember Nathan Salmon suggesting something like this in a paper of his on Frege's sense and reference paper.

Perhaps we should distinguish between different ways of expressing a person's belief that. There is an objective way and a subjective way: in the objective way, we describe a person's belief in terms that they might not use but we would, given what we know; in the subjective way, we describe a person's belief in the words they would use themselves, as they would report it "from the inside".

We might say Julius Ceasar believes that Scintilla is beautiful, or that he believes that Scintilla pulchra est. Obviously Julius Ceasar did his believing and his speaking in Latin, so he would deny that he believes "Scintilla is beautiful", because he doesn't know what that means. But to be pulchra is just to be beautiful. In the objective way, he believes Scintilla is beautiful, but not subjectively described.

So also, we can understand D1 objectively or subjectively. Objectively, D1 entails D2. Subjectively, it doesn't, because Sam might have never heard of the name Tully, but I don't see what kind of contradiction is supposed to follow from D1 being understood subjectively.

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