UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Fixing Belief

Sung, Hiu Chuk Winnie; (2021) Fixing Belief. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[thumbnail of Sung_10126559_thesis.pdf]
Preview
Text
Sung_10126559_thesis.pdf

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with self-ascriptive belief. I argue that one’s lower-order belief can be fixed from the reflective level. One reasons about whether p is the case and it is on the basis of one’s endorsement of p that one comes to believe p. I argue that one’s self-ascriptive belief can also be fixed from the reflective level. One reasons about whether p is the case and it is on the basis of one’s endorsement of p that one comes to self-ascribe the belief p. I further suggest that it is possible for the reflective way of fixing lower-order belief to fail but the reflective way of fixing self-ascriptive belief to succeed. When this happens, one is in a state of believing that she believes p when in fact one does not believe p. This suggests that the state of believing that one believes p and the state of believing p are distinct states and that the state of believing that one believes p does not necessitate the state of believing p. It also raises a sceptical worry about whether one’s self-ascriptive belief amounts to knowledge. In Chapter 1, I situate my discussions in the existing literature, focusing on the constitutive view of self-ascriptive belief. In Chapter 2, I use an everyday case in which a subject self-ascribes the belief that p and is later surprised that p to motivate the possibility that there are different levels at which beliefs are fixed. In Chapter 3, I develop an account of ratiocination and argue that the conclusion of ratiocination is in the form of I ought to believe p. Hence, at the end of ratiocination, one is in a state of believing that I ought to believe p. In Chapter 3, I discuss how one’s belief that I ought to believe p initiates a top-down fixation of the corresponding lower-order belief. I also discuss why it is possible for the top-down fixation process of a rational subject to terminate before it fixes the lower-order belief. In Chapter 4, I discuss the transparency account of self-knowledge. I first criticise the transparency account’s claim that a rational subject’s endorsing p necessarily leads to believing p. Someone who ratiocinates and concludes that p but does not believe p because the top-down fixation process terminates early is an example of how a rational subject can endorse p without believing p. I then draw on the transparency account to argue that from a rational subject’s first-person perspective, if she self-ascribes a belief to herself and if she endorses that p, she will self-ascribe the belief that p. If this is right, then one can self-ascribe the belief that p because one endorses p but in fact does not believe p because one’s endorsement fails to fix the lower-order belief. In Chapter 5, I return to the constitutive account, explaining why its central claim should be rejected. I also reject the incorrigibility thesis, which holds that a self-ascriptive belief that p entails the lower-order belief that p. Finally, I raise a number of puzzles concerning the epistemic status of self-ascriptive belief.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Fixing Belief
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10126559
Downloads since deposit
42Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item