Monday, June 04, 2007


Oh Larsen B, you can fall on me..........

In my earlier post, I argued that commitments one takes on in accepting that superassertibility is a genuine truth-predicate for some domain of discourse (at least if one holds, as Crispin does, that any genuine truth-predicate sustains a full disquotational schema) rules out the possibility of what I'll call "iceberg ahead!" states of information; states of information such that they warrant the assertion of some sentence P, but also warrant the assertion that one of the other necessary conditions for superassertibility isn't met (so either the grounds that confer warranted assertibility upon P would not withstand arbitrarily exacting scrutiny, or there is some extension to one's state of information which no longer warrants an assertion of P).

I was reading Wright's 'Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb' after I wrote the original post, and it suggested to me an example of an "iceberg ahead!" state of information. Focus on 'disputes of inclination', so, for example, a dispute over whether rhubarb is delicious. Suppose that one holds firstly that 'Rhubarb is delicious' is warrantedly assertible by subject S just in case S likes the taste of rhubard; likewise, 'Rhubarb is not delicious' is warrantedly assertible by S just in S does not like the taste of rhubarb (Wright 2006: 57). Suppose also that one holds that truth regarding expressions of inclination is constituted by superassertibility (as Wright proposes in his paper, though he does not wholeheartedly endorse the proposal).

Finally, suppose that I do not at present like the taste of rhubarb, but I have resolved to eat it every day for at least the next forty days. I also have very good (perhaps inductive or testimonial) grounds for holding that if one tastes a food-stuff forty times one will come to like it. Given the above commitments, isn't this a case in which 'Rhubarb is not delicious' is warrantedly assertible by me, but assuming the credentials of my belief that my dislike of rhubarb will not survive the next 40 days to be sufficiently good, the claim that 'Rhubarb is not delicious' is not superassertible is also warrantly assertible (since my current state of information is such that I know that there is an extension of that state of information which will not warrant my asserting 'Rhubarb is not delicious')?

It might be a little unlikely that I'd ever find myself in quite this epistemic condition. But I don't find it a really bizarre case, and all I really need is that it strikes us as coherent.

Labels: , ,

Do you plan on having a series of posts about rhubarb?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?