•  208
    What is a belief state?
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1): 357-378. 1986.
    What we believe depends on more than the purely intrinsic facts about us: facts about our environment or context also help determine the contents of our beliefs. 1 This observation has led several writers to hope that beliefs can be divided, as it were, into two components: a "core" that depends only on the individual?s intrinsic properties; and a periphery that depends on the individual?s context, including his or her history, environment, and linguistic community. Thus Jaegwon Kim suggests tha…Read more
  •  178
    Belief and rationality
    with Steven Luper-Foy
    Synthese 89 (3). 1991.
  •  150
    Believing the impossible
    Synthese 89 (3): 353-364. 1991.
    Ruth Barcan Marcus has argued that, just as we cannot know what is false, we cannot believe what is impossible.1 I will offer an interpretation of her defense of this view. I will then argue, first, that if the defense succeeded it would also justify rejecting many, perhaps most, of our ordinary belief ascriptions; and second, that, luckily, the defense does not succeed. Finally, I suggest that despite its failure there is something correct and important in Marcus's argument.
  •  140
    Direct and indirect belief
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (2): 289-316. 1992.
    Belief states are only contingently connected with the objects of belief. Burge's examples show that the same belief state can be associated with different objects of belief. Kripke's puzzle shows that the same object of belief can be associated with different belief states. Nevertheless, belief states can best be characterized by a subset of the propositions one believes, namely those one directly or immediately believes. The rest of the things one believes are believed indirectly, by virtue of…Read more
  •  137
    Belief states and narrow content
    Mind and Language 8 (3): 343-67. 1993.
    The first thesis is that beliefs play a role in explaining behavior. This is reasonably uncontroversial, though it has been controverted. Why did I raise my arm? Because I wanted to emphasize a point, and believed that I could do so by raising my arm. The belief that I could emphasize a point by raising my arm is central to the most natural explanation of my action
  •  98
    How to believe the impossible
    Philosophical Studies 58 (3): 271-285. 1990.
    Can we believe things that could not possibly be true? The world seems full of examples. Mathematicians have "proven" theorems which in fact turn out to be false. People have believed that Hesperus is not Phosphorus, that they themselves are essentially incorporeal, that heat is not molecular motion--all propositions which have been claimed to be not just false, but necessarily false. Some have even seemed to pride themselves on believing the impossible; Hegel thought contradictions could be tru…Read more
  •  91
    The necessary a posteriori: A response to tichý (review)
    Philosophical Studies 45 (3). 1984.
    Some of Tichý's conclusions rest on an assumption about substitutivity which Kripke would not accept. If we grant the assumption, then Tichý successfully shows that we can discover true identity statements involving names a priori, but not that we can discover a priori what properties things have essentially. Many of Tichý's arguments require an implausible rejection of the possibility of indirect belief as described in Section III. 25Are there necessary a posteriori propositions? I have argued …Read more
  •  90
    Internal Realism: Transcendental Idealism?
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1): 145-155. 1988.
    Idealism is an ontological view, a view about what sorts of things there are in the universe. Idealism holds that what there is depends on our own mental structure and activity. Berkeley of course held that everything was mental; Kant held the more complex view that there was an important distinction between the mental and the physical, but that the structure of the empirical world depended on the activities of minds. Despite radical differences, idealists like Berkeley and Kant share what Ralph…Read more
  •  76
    Narrow mental content
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Narrow mental content is a kind of mental content that does not depend on an individual's environment. Narrow content contrasts with “broad” or “wide” content, which depends on features of the individual's environment as well as on features of the individual. It is controversial whether there is any such thing as narrow content. Assuming that there is, it is also controversial what sort of content it is, what its relation to ordinary or “broad” content is, and how it is determined by the individ…Read more
  •  47
    Implementation and indeterminacy
    Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology 37. 2004.
    David Chalmers has defended an account of what it is for a physical system to implement a computation. The account appeals to the idea of a “combinatorial-state automaton” or CSA. It is unclear whether Chalmers intends the CSA to be a computational model in the usual sense, or merely a convenient formalism into which instances of other models can be translated. I argue that the CSA is not a computational model in the usual sense because CSAs do not perspicuously represent algorithms, are too pow…Read more
  •  36
    Overriding reasons and reasons to be moral
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (2): 173-187. 1986.
  •  22
    Liberating Content By CappelenHerman and LeporeErnieOxford University Press, 2015. vi + 304 pp. £45.00.
  •  17
    Liberating Content
    Analysis 78 (2): 364-367. 2018.
    Liberating Content By CappelenHerman and LeporeErnieOxford University Press, 2015. vi + 304 pp. £45.00.
  •  13
    Both David Lewis and Roderick Chisholm have proposed that beliefs are best understood, not as relations between people and the propositions they believe, but as relations between people and the properties they "directly attribute" to themselves or "self-ascribe." If this account is correct for belief, it seems that it ought to be possible to extend it to other "propositional attitudes" such as considering and wishing. But the most straightforward way of extending the account to such other attitu…Read more
  •  11
    Belief States and Narrow Content
    Mind and Language 8 (3): 343-367. 1993.
  •  5
    Overriding Reasons and Reasons To Be Moral
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (2): 173-187. 1986.
  •  4
    Charles Crittenden, Unreality: The Metaphysics of Fictional Objects (review)
    Philosophy in Review 12 (3): 177-179. 1992.
  • Drugs, Morality, and the Law
    with Steven Luper-foy
    Ethics 106 (2): 470-471. 1996.
  • Beliefs and Their Objects
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 1982.
    The goal of the dissertation is to sketch an account of the nature of belief states. Chapter One introduces a distinction between belief states and objects of belief. The objects of belief are propositions; belief states are intrinsic states of the believer. Examples from the current literature show that one's belief states do not by themselves determine which propositions are objects of one's belief. ;In Chapter Two I argue that the objects of belief may be divided into what I call "immediate" …Read more
  • Drugs, Morality, and the Law (edited book)
    with S. Luper
    Garland. 1994.