The fruits of June
Thu 30 Jun 2016 08:22 AM
I had meant to blog more in June, but I did not.
I did, however, collaborate with my colleague Brad Armour-Garb on a paper. We started in the first week of June and have now finished a stable draft, which I posted over on my website.
Summary: People regularly answer questions about their propositional attitudes. Moreover, they are fairly reliable at this. For example, if someone is asked whether she believes that Mickey Mouse has a tail, she can quickly answer if she does. Only under rare circumstances would we say that she was wrong if she sincerely asserted that she did believe that Mickey Mouse has a tail. But this raises some questions. How do people readily make such self-ascriptions? And what explains their impressive reliability?
We critically address Robert Gordon's (2007) recent attempt at explaining self-ascriptions of propositional attitudes without an appeal to introspection. In particular, after explaining Gordon's proposal for how we make such self-ascriptions and for how we can explain their impressive reliability, we show that his position is ultimately untenable. We then provide a different explanation for how we can self-ascribe such attitudes and go on to show that we can do this without any real reliance on introspection.