Belief, Degrees of Belief, and Assertion


Milne P (2012) Belief, Degrees of Belief, and Assertion. Dialectica, 66 (3), pp. 331-349.

Starting from John MacFarlane's recent survey of answers to the question 'What is assertion?', I defend an account of assertion that draws on elements of MacFarlane's and Robert Brandom's commitment accounts, Timothy Williamson's knowledge norm account, and my own previous work on the normative status of logic. I defend the knowledge norm from recent attacks. Indicative conditionals, however, pose a problem when read along the lines of Ernest Adams' account, an account supported by much work in the psychology of reasoning. Furthermore, there seems to be no place for degrees of belief in the accounts of belief and assertion given here. Degrees of belief do have a role in decision-making, but, again, there is much evidence that the orthodox theory of subjective utility maximization is not a good description of what we do in decision-making and, arguably, neither is it a good normative guide to how we ought to make decisions.

Belief; degrees of belief; assertion; indicative conditionals

Dialectica: Volume 66, Issue 3

Publication date30/09/2012
Publication date online25/09/2012