Inference as Consciousness of Necessity

Analytic Philosophy 61 (4):304-322 (2020)
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Abstract

Consider the following three claims. (i) There are no truths of the form ‘p and ~p’. (ii) No one holds a belief of the form ‘p and ~p’. (iii) No one holds any pairs of beliefs of the form {p, ~p}. Irad Kimhi has recently argued, in effect, that each of these claims holds and holds with metaphysical necessity. Furthermore, he maintains that they are ultimately not distinct claims at all, but the same claim formulated in different ways. I find his argument suggestive, if not entirely transparent. I do think there is at least an important kernel of truth even in (iii), and that (i) ultimately explains what’s right about the other two. Consciousness of an impossibility makes belief in the obtaining of the corresponding state of affairs an impossibility. Interestingly, an appreciation of this fact brings into view a novel conception of inference, according to which it consists in the consciousness of necessity. This essay outlines and defends this position. A central element of the defense is that it reveals how reasoners satisfy what Paul Boghossian calls the Taking Condition and do so without engendering regress.

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Eric Marcus
Auburn University

Citations of this work

The Hereby-Commit Account of Inference.Christopher Blake-Turner - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):86-101.
How Reasoning Aims at Truth.David Horst - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):221-241.
The guise of good reason.Ulf Hlobil - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):204-224.
Rule-Following II: Recent Work and New Puzzles.Indrek Reiland - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (5):e12976.
Inferential Seemings.Elijah Chudnoff - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.

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References found in this work

Emotions, Value, and Agency.Christine Tappolet - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press UK.
In Praise of Desire.Nomy Arpaly & Timothy Schroeder - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Timothy Schroeder.
What is inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.

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