SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Comparing pragmatic and introspection-based explanations of Moore's Paradox
(Epistemology, Englisch)

Moore__s Paradox consists in providing an explanation of the "absurdity" (Moore 1944) of statements of the form "p, but I don't believe that p" or "p, but I believe that not p", which although seem to be contradictory are logically consistent. Among epistemologists the absurdity of such statements is usually approach with two strategies: (a) a pragmatic strategy, according to which Moorean statements are necessarily false when believed or asserted (e.g. Sorensen 1988, Williams 1996), (b) introspection-based strategies, according to which Moorean statements are plainly unbelievable or unassertible (e.g. Hintikka 1962). The pragmatic strategy is usually thought to be less demanding when it comes to the strength of the system of doxastic logic needed to demonstrate the falsehood of believed Moorean proposition, since the latter strategy needs to appeal to the highly controversial BB principle (doxastic counterpart of modal axiom 4) or at least some stronger introspective principle (Rieger 2015).

In my talk I will challenge this consensus and argue that the proper and general explanation of Moore's Paradox needs to utilize BB principle, so that any pragmatic strategy needs the same logical resources as introspection-based strategy. I will start by considering so-called iterated versions of Moore's Paradox (of the form "p, but I believe that I believe that not-p", Sorensen 2000) and argue, that their absurdity needs to be accounted for by any explanation of Moore's Paradox. Furthermore I will demonstrate that in order to prove the falsity of believed iterated Moorean proposition one needs the same logical resources as for proving that such proposition cannot be believed, and that the most natural (although not the weakest) way of doing so would be to accept modal logic KD4 as the underlying logic of belief.


Moore, G.E. (1944). Russell's theory of description. In: P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 177-225.

Sorensen, R. (1988). Blindspots. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Sorensen, R. (2000). Moore's problem with iterated belief. The Philosophical Quarterly, 50(198), 28-43.

Williams, J. N. (1996). Moorean absurdities and the nature of assertion. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74, 135-149.

Rieger, A. (2015). Moore's Paradox, Introspection and Doxastic Logic. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 4(4), 215-227.

Hintikka, J. (1962). Knowledge and belief: An introduction to the logic of the two notions. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Chair: Cristian Vulpe
Zeit: 11:20-11:50, 09. September 2022 (Freitag)
Ort: SR 1.003

Maciej Tarnowski
(University of Warsaw, Polen)

Testability and Meaning deco