[lit-ideas] Re: The Proposition and the Attitude

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2013 17:50:35 +0000 (GMT)

>We have had no input from Phatic if we're running along the right lines>

That may be because he's busy yelling "Look what you started" at Pierre.


On Thursday, 5 December 2013, 14:30, "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> 
I think Grice prefers to avoid 'propositional attitude', which, he thinks,  
entails a commitment to 'propositions' (even as abstract entities) and 
prefers  to speak of psychological attitudes -- which, granted, is a bit of a 
redundancy.  He uses the symbol


as a variable -- over 'belief', 'desire', etc. --

He also considers the idea of a 'radix', which may be relevant here:

The 'radix' in "Pierre believes that it is raining" would be

"it is raining"

In symbols



Below, in ps, McEvoy, considers the fact that while the 'proposition' or  
_content_ of an 'attitude' may be kept constant, it is the nuance of the  
attitude towards it that counts.


We have had no input from Phatic if we're running along the right lines, so 
it may do to reconsider his scenario:

i. Pierre notes that it is raining and Pierre doesn't believe it's  raining.
ii. Pierre notes that it is raining and Pierre believes that it's not  

It should be noted that 'note' is a propositional attitude, like 'believe'. 
I loved Forster's (and Popper's, cited by McEvoy), "I don't belief in 
belief".  Similarly, one may add that one does not annotate annotations (which 
is  admittedly clumsier in sound).

I think Julie, and also W. O. -- who talks of 'know' -- are wondering about 
the evidence we may have to ascribe a propositional attitude.

The standard test is:

iii. Pierre notes that it is raining and says "It is raining"; therefore,  
we are entitled to say, "Pierre believes that it is raining". 

I.e. a belief, at least in functionalist approaches alla Grice, is a  
theoretical term (in Ramsey's sense) that bridges the perceptual input (Pierre  
observing that it is raining) and the behavioural output (Pierre uttering, 
"It  is raining").

In i, Pierre's noting does not yield any behavioural output, it is not the  
case that he believes it is raining.

In ii, against normalcy, he decides to doubt his 'noting' and develops an  
attitude towards the contradictory of his 'annotation'.

i and ii 

would get represented, respectively, as

ψ1(a, √p) & ~(ψ2(a, √p)

ψ1(a, √p) & ψ2(a, √~p)

Or something. There doesn't seem to be nothing contradictory  about them.

Or not.

"I don't belief in belief".

McEvoy goes on to elaborate on 'disbelief', and I would add a few  

"He is full of negative beliefs".
"He does not hold any beliefs".
"He is full of disbeliefs".

and so on. But this may lead us towards "~".


Popper, "I don't belief in belief"


Socrates, "I only know I know nothing".

Or not.

On top of that, Grice prefers to speak of 'propositional complex', rather  
than proposition simpliciter. In this case, 'rain' does not quite qualify as 
the  standard.

"The cat is on the mat"

-- The S is P --

does. Recall Strawson in "Introduction to Logical Theory": "It rains (what  
is "it"?)".

The formalisation then becomes:

ψ1(a, √(the S is P)) & ~(ψ2(a, √(the S is P))

ψ1(a, √(the S is P)) & ψ2(a, √~(The S is P))

If we know use "U" to represent "Utterer" (rather than "a"), and use "A"  
and "B" for any predicate, not just subject of predicate, a more realistic  
formula becomes, with the iota operator to symbolise "the":

ψ1(U, √(ιAx.Bx)) & ~(ψ2(U, √(ιAx.Bx))

ψ1(U, √(ιAx.Bx)) & ψ2(U, √~(ιAx.Bx))

Note that this allows a simple consideration of things  like:

Reichenbach noted that all swans are white, yet he came to  disbelieve that 
they were -- i.e. the predicate symbols allow us to transfer the  'iota 
operator' ("the") and go on to deal with universal classes, notably "all"  or 
"every" -- and particular classes like "some" 

ψ(U, √(∀xA.Bx)) 

--- While Pierre is noting things in the meadow, he comes to  Pierre 
believe that all ravens are black

ψ1(U, √(∃xA.Bx)) 

--- While Pierre is nothing some things in the zoo, he comes to believes  
that some swans are black.

And so on.



In a message dated 12/4/2013 5:48:53 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
>"Pierre doesn't believe it's raining"  could be interpreted to mean: 1. P 
disbelieves that it's raining. or
2. P has  no belief that it's raining. In sense 1 then if P disbelieves 
that it's raining  then that may be equivalent to "P believes that it's not 
raining": for 'P  disbelieves p' = 'P believes non-p'.> The "may be" may be 
important. Someone  says to me "It's raining" and that prompts my mental state 
of disbelief: this  may be a different or distinct kind of a mental 
state/propositonal attitude than  if someone says "It's not raining" and that 
prompts my mental  state/propositional attitude of belief. Try it - you may 
beliefs and  disbeliefs 'feel' distinct kinds of state or attitude, even when 
they are  congruent in that the underlying 'propositionality' is 
equivalent. So even if  the proposition 'p false' =  'non-p true', the 
equivalence of 
these  propositions may not entail the identity of congruent propositional 
attitudes  towards them. The attitude of believing 'p false' may be distinct 
from  disbelieving 'non-p false'; the attitude of believing 'p true' may be 
distinct  from disbelieving 'non-p true': these propositional attitudes may 
seem the same  for merely propositional purposes but they may not be 
identical attitudes. After  all, a 'propositional attitude' consists of more 
its propositionality:  equivalence of propositionality may not entail 
equivalence of congruent  attitudes when considered as attitudes. This may have 
implications for beliefs  and disbeliefs as 'propositional attitudes'.

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: