Seemings and Moore’s Paradox

Erkenntnis:1-22 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Phenomenal conservatives claim that seemings are sui generis mental states and can thus provide foundational non-doxastic justification for beliefs. Many of their critics deny this, claiming, instead, that seemings can be reductively analyzed in terms of other mental states—either beliefs, inclinations to believe, or beliefs about one’s evidence—that cannot provide foundational non-doxastic justification. In this paper, I argue that no tenable semantic reduction of ‘seems’ can be formulated in terms of the three reductive analyses that have been proposed by critics of phenomenal conservatism. This is because Moore-paradoxical statements are generated when each of the reductive analyses is substituted for ‘seems’ in statements like ‘The stick is straight, but it does not seem to me that it’s straight.’ Since the latter statement is not Moore-paradoxical, the three proposed reductive analyses of ‘seems’ are unsuccessful. Absent a successful semantic reduction, however, there is no good reason to think a successful metaphysical reduction of seemings is forthcoming. Thus, there is an additional reason, unnoticed in the existing literature, to think that seemings are sui generis mental states.

Author's Profile

Robert M. Farley
Hillsborough Community College


Added to PP

92 (#77,554)

6 months
92 (#25,374)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?