A Puzzle about Belief

A Puzzle about Belief,10.1007/978-1-4020-4104-4_20,Saul A. Kripke

A Puzzle about Belief   (Citations: 160)
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In this paper I will present a puzzle about names and belief.A moral or two will be drawn about some other arguments that have occasionallly been advanced in this area, but my main thesis is a simple one : that the puzzle is a puzzle. And, as a corollary, that any account of belief must ultimately come to grips with it. Any speculation as to solutions can be deferred. The first section of the paper gives the theortical background in previous discussion, and in my own earlier work, that led me to consider the puzzle. The background is by no means necessary to state the puzzle: As a philosophical puzzle, it stands on its own, and I think its fundamental interest for the problem of belief goes beyond the background that engendered it.As I indicate in the third section, the problem really goes beyond beliefs expressed using names, to a far wider class of beliefs. Nevertheless, I think that the background illuminates the genesis of the puzzle, and it will enable me to draw one moral in the concluding section. The second section states some general principles which underlie our general practice of reporting beliefs.These principles are state in much more detail than in needed to comprehend the puzzle; and there are variant formulations of the principles that would do as well.Neither this section nor the first necessary for an intuitive grasp of the central problem, discussed in the third section, though they may help with fine points of the discussion. The reader who wishes rapid access to the central problem could skim the first two sections lightly on a first reading.
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