Inferential Justification and the Transparency of Belief

Noûs 50 (1):184-212 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This paper critically examines currently influential transparency accounts of our knowledge of our own beliefs that say that self-ascriptions of belief typically are arrived at by “looking outward” onto the world. For example, one version of the transparency account says that one self-ascribes beliefs via an inference from a premise to the conclusion that one believes that premise. This rule of inference reliably yields accurate self-ascriptions because you cannot infer a conclusion from a premise without believing the premise, and so you cannot infer from a premise that you believe the premise unless you do believe it. I argue that this procedure cannot be a source of justification, however, because one can be justified in inferring from p that q only if p amounts to strong evidence that q is true. This is incompatible with the transparency account because p often is not very strong evidence that you believe that p. For example, unless you are a weather expert, the fact that it will rain is not very strong evidence that you believe it will rain. After showing how this intuitive problem can be made precise, I conclude with a broader lesson about the nature of inferential justification: that beliefs, when justified, must be underwritten by beliefs, when justified, must be underwritten by evidential relationships between the facts or propositions which those beliefs represent.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BARIJA-2
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-03-07
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Knowledge and its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

View all 75 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Evil Demon Inside.Silins, Nicholas

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2015-03-04

Total views
429 ( #5,882 of 39,035 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
51 ( #8,305 of 39,035 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.