Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: Vol. 117, No. 465, January 2008

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Mind: Vol. 117, No. 465, January 2008

Article excerpt

Coherence as a Heuristic, STAFFAN ANGERE

The impossibility results of Bovens and Hartmann (2003) and Olsson (2005) call into question the strength of the connection between coherence and truth. As part of the inquiry into this alleged link, Angere defines a notion of degree of truth-conduciveness, relevant for measuring the usefulness of coherence measures as rules-of-thumb for assigning probabilities in situations of partial knowledge. He uses the concept to compare the viability of some of the measures of coherence that have been suggested so far under different circumstances. It turns out that all of these, including the prior, are just about equally good in cases of very little knowledge. Nevertheless, there are differences in when they are applicable, and they also depart more from each other when more knowledge is added.

Partial Belief, Partial Intention, RICHARD HOLTON

Is a belief that one will succeed necessary for an intention? It is argued that the question has traditionally been badly posed, framed as it is in terms of all-out belief. We need instead to ask about the relation between intention and partial belief. An account of partial belief that is more psychologically realistic than the standard credence account is developed. A notion of partial intention is then developed, standing to all-out intention much as partial belief stands to all-out belief. Various coherence constraints on the notion are explored. It is concluded that the primary relations between intention and belief should be understood as normative and not essential.

On Linking Dispositions and Conditionals, DAVID MANLEY and RYAN WASSERMAN

Analyses of dispositional ascriptions in terms of conditional statements famously confront the problems of finks and masks. The authors argue that conditional analyses of dispositions, even those tailored to avoid finks and masks, face five further problems. These are the problems of: (i) Achilles' heels, (ii) accidental closeness, (iii) comparatives, (iv) explaining context sensitivity, and (v) absent stimulus conditions. …

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