Trying Cognitivism: A Defence of the Strong Belief Thesis

Theoria 84 (2):140-156 (2018)
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Abstract

According to the Strong Belief Thesis (SBT), intending to X entails the belief that one will X. John Brunero has attempted to impugn SBT by arguing that there are cases in which an agent intends to X but is unsure that she will X. Moreover, he claims that the standard reply to such putative counterexamples to SBT – namely, to claim that the unsure agent merely has an intention to try – comes at a high price. Specifically, it prevents SBT from playing the kind of explanatory role the cognitivist requires. This article meets Brunero's challenge to SBT by offering an account of trying and intending to try that not only saves SBT from Brunero's criticism, but does so in a way that preserves the explanatory significance that cognitivists typically take SBT to have.

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Avery Archer
George Washington University

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