Transparency and the truth norm of belief

Synthese 200 (3):1-18 (2022)


That it can explain the phenomenon of transparency, namely the fact that if you resolve whether p, you have thereby resolved whether to believe that p, was originally put forward as a great virtue of normativist conceptions of belief. However, non-normativists have convincingly shown that the permissive version of the truth norm of belief, which is one of the most plausible and promising versions of it, cannot in fact accommodate this phenomenon. Alarmed by this situation, in this paper I re-assess the transparency phenomenon and its relation to different versions of the truth norm of belief. I argue that, contrary to how it appears, it is not even clear that the most tenable injunctive versions of the truth norm explain this phenomenon. I then argue that the transparency phenomenon consists of two distinct aspects which should be, but have not been, distinguished. What I call the ‘question-shifting’ aspect is explained by the truth norm, irrespective of how it is formulated, while what I call the ‘answer-shifting’ aspect is explanatorily empty and does not require any explanation, be it normative or otherwise. Therefore, understood properly, explaining transparency does remain a strength of normativist accounts of belief, and has no implications for which particular formulation of the truth norm we may adopt.

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Alireza Kazemi
Sharif University of Technology (Alumnus)

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Blindspots.Roy A. Sorensen - 1988 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Doxastic Deliberation.Nishi Shah & J. David Velleman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):497-534.
How Truth Governs Belief.Nishi Shah - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (4):447-482.
On the Aim of Belief.David Velleman - 2000 - In The Possibility of Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. pp. 244--81.

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