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Meaning and Normativity$
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Allan Gibbard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646074.001.0001

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Correct Belief

Correct Belief

(p.75) 4 Correct Belief
Meaning and Normativity

Allan Gibbard

Oxford University Press

The chapter addresses a puzzle. In an objective sense, one ought to believe all and only what’s true. This loses the normative/natural distinction, making objective oughts conceptually equivalent to naturalistic claims. The needed ought ignores costs and limitations in reasoning. The subjective ought can’t be characterized in terms of objective oughts, but using Hare conditionals to characterize hypothetical imperatives, we can say this: The objective ought is what one ought subjectively to do were it that one ought to believe all that’s so. This involves an idealized self thinking herself the actual self. The special case of what one objectively ought to believe falls out immediately. The suppositions here may be counternormative as well as counterfactual. Putting meaning in terms of truth-conditions, it follows, will be empty. So we must characterize meanings in terms of subjective oughts. Oughts of advice come in a note at the end.

Keywords:   objective ought, subjective ought, conditionals, counterfactual, counternormative, truth conditions, advice, hypothetical imperative

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