Managing Dialogue in terms of Belief and Acceptance


This paper was presented at the 26th International Wittgenstein Symposium on “Knowledge and Belief”, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria (3rd - 10th August 2003). The focus of study is a dialogue situation in which one party holds that P while the other holds that ~P. A simple way to establish harmony between the parties in dialogue is to insist that each should include the other’s point of view. This is unsatisfactory because it results in an inconsistent set of beliefs. Clarity is essential, therefore, on how to deal with inconsistency. In this paper, I will proceed in two steps. In the first, I will indicate how some attempts at trying to manage contradictions in terms of ontology remain unsatisfactory. In the second step, I will introduce and evaluate another way in terms of belief and acceptance. I make an original application of L.J. Cohen’s distinction between belief and acceptance, the former being a matter of feeling, the latter a matter of policy in reasoning

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Louis Caruana
Pontificia Universita Gregoriana


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