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Belief is weak

Hawthorne, J; Rothschild, D; Spectre, L; (2016) Belief is weak. Philosophical Studies , 173 (5) pp. 1393-1404. 10.1007/s11098-015-0553-7. Green open access

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Abstract

It is tempting to posit an intimate relationship between belief and assertion. The speech act of assertion seems like a way of transferring the speaker’s belief to his or her audience. If this is right, then you might think that the evidential warrant required for asserting a proposition is just the same as the warrant for believing it. We call this thesis entitlement equality. We argue here that entitlement equality is false, because our everyday notion of belief is unambiguously a weak one. Believing something is true, we argue, is compatible with having relatively little confidence in it. Asserting something requires something closer to complete confidence. Specifically, we argue that believing a proposition merely requires thinking it likely, but that thinking that a proposition is likely does not entitle one to assert it. This conclusion conflict with a standard view that ‘full belief’ is the central commonsense non-factive attitude.

Type: Article
Title: Belief is weak
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11098-015-0553-7
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11098-015-0553-7
Language: English
Additional information: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11098-015-0553-7
Keywords: Assertion, Credence, Epistemology, Full belief, Neg-raising
UCL classification: UCL
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/1470462
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