1
   

Moore's Paradox

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:11 am
G.E. Moore once remarked in a lecture that although it makes no sense to say, "It is raining, but I don't believe it", it can nevertheless be true that it is raining and I don't believe it. How can saying what can be true make no sense?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 6,796 • Replies: 121
No top replies

 
amist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:37 am
@kennethamy,
I think his meaning is that it makes no sense for a person not to believe it is raining even though he/she knows it to be so.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:40 am
@kennethamy,
Perhaps the weather report says that it's raining but the speaker cant hear the sound of rain.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:48 am
@amist,
amist;137861 wrote:
I think his meaning is that it makes no sense for a person not to believe it is raining even though he/she knows it to be so.


That is not the paradox. There is no "knowing" mentioned.

---------- Post added 03-09-2010 at 09:52 AM ----------

ughaibu;137863 wrote:
Perhaps the weather report says that it's raining but the speaker cant hear the sound of rain.


Yes. In that case it would be true that it is raining, but the speaker does not believe it is raining. But that is not a paradox. It often happens that someone does not believe that something is true.

The paradox is that someone if someone says, "it is raining, but I don't believe it" it would make no sense in English, but still, it might be true. How can a sentence that makes no sense be, nevertheless, true?
0 Replies
 
amist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:54 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
That is not the paradox. There is no "knowing" mentioned.


What do you think the paradox was? The 'I don't believe it' part kind of triggered the epistemology part of my brain on this one.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:00 am
@amist,
amist;137870 wrote:
What do you think the paradox was? The 'I don't believe it' part kind of triggered the epistemology part of my brain on this one.


I already said what the paradox was several times in this (so far) short thread.

It is that a certain sentence is meaningless, but can be true. That is paradoxical. The sentence is, "It is snowing, but I don't believe it is snowing". (By the way, that sentence does have a use, but not one relevant to the issue).
0 Replies
 
amist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:05 am
@kennethamy,
Look, if the sentence is meaningless there's no way it can have a truth value. That's a contradiction. You've either made a misstep in that you've incorrectly judged the sentence meaningless, or that you've incorrectly judged the sentence as possible. Personally I think the sentence has lots of below the surface implied meaning that kind of gets lost in the analytic analysis of the sentence. In any case just because someone believes something doesn't mean they believe something that is true. It might be puzzling why someone would believe something they know is false, but I think people certainly have the ability to do so. 'It is snowing' is somebody stating a fact which I think it is implied that they know. 'I don't believe it' is them simply not accepting it as a fact on the surface level even though they really do.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:13 am
@amist,
Yea, this kinda thing is just silly. [INDENT] It is raining: Is a statement posited, by the speaker, as knowing or statement of fact as they see the case to be

But I don't believe it: Is a statement, by the speaker, that although they don't believe what has otherwise been said, suggested or asserted
[/INDENT]Just a simple contradiction; nothing philosophical about this. We can assemble sentences all day and night that communicate nothing, declare themselves or sound legitimate though are really just wanton contradictions. Trying to derive "deeper" meaning from a contradiction takes one from nowhere, to nowhere and only muddies the communication-waters

Just my personal opinion
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:19 am
@amist,
amist;137874 wrote:
Look, if the sentence is meaningless there's no way it can have a truth value. That's a contradiction. You've either made a misstep in that you've incorrectly judged the sentence meaningless, or that you've incorrectly judged the sentence as possible. Personally I think the sentence has lots of below the surface implied meaning that kind of gets lost in the analytic analysis of the sentence. In any case just because someone believes something doesn't mean they believe something that is true. It might be puzzling why someone would believe something they know is false, but I think people certainly have the ability to do so. 'It is snowing' is somebody stating a fact which I think it is implied that they know. 'I don't believe it' is them simply not accepting it as a fact on the surface level even though they really do.


Again you say "believe something they know is false" but there is no reason to think that the speaker knows it is false that it is raining. It does not say so in the formulation of the paradox.

The sentence, "I believe it is raining, and it is false that it is raining" expresses a possible situation. Since I can say of the speaker that he believes it is raining and it is false that it is raining. There is nothing meaningless about that. What is the problem is that the fact is expressed in the first person. It can very well be that it is raining and I do not believe it. What is the trouble is that I cannot express that fact in the first person. It can certainly be expressed in the second or the third person.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 09:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137890 wrote:
What is the trouble is that I cannot express that fact in the first person. It can certainly be expressed in the second or the third person.


This is a good way to nail it down. Kudos
0 Replies
 
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 10:55 am
@kennethamy,
Is the sentence "I never tell the truth" (a variant of the Epimenides paradox) puzzling in the same way, in that it means something, and what it means is possibly true, but the speaker cannot mean it?

I'm not inclined to say that either of these sentences "makes no sense", but only that they cannot be literally meant by whoever says them.
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 10:58 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137853 wrote:
G.E. Moore once remarked in a lecture that although it makes no sense to say, "It is raining, but I don't believe it", it can nevertheless be true that it is raining and I don't believe it. How can saying what can be true make no sense?


Because "makes no sense" is a normative claim. Humans normally believe things that they assert the truth of.

It doesn't mean "makes no sense" in the same way that "Prep Gwarlek" makes no sense.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:08 pm
@Night Ripper,
Language study is as much a study of social, cultural, interpersonal, and pragmatic processes involved in the use of language as it is the semantic and syntactic properties. Any philosophy of language should include these factors.

1) Many things taken out of context make absolutly no sense. A comedy bit by Lewis Black demonstrates this when he overheard, "If it weren't for my horse I never would have graduated college."

2)"It's X but I don't believe it", (I don't believe it) is not a paradox of the English language as it is coloquially used as a rhetorical device.

Given the above, there is no real language paradox, there is only an artificial paradox that could just as easily be expressed with math or formal logic.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:08 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;137919 wrote:
Because "makes no sense" is a normative claim. Humans normally believe things that they assert the truth of.

It doesn't mean "makes no sense" in the same way that "Prep Gwarlek" makes no sense.


I mean that if someone said "It is raining, but I don't believe it" I would not understand him. In this case, the problem is not what was said, since what was said might very well be true. The problem appears to be that it was said. And that is what makes it different from your example of making no sense. It is not the proposition being expressed that makes no sense. It is its being expressed by the person who is the subject that makes no sense. So the paradox stems from the expression of the proposition, and not the proposition.
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:12 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137853 wrote:
G.E. Moore once remarked in a lecture that although it makes no sense to say, "It is raining, but I don't believe it", it can nevertheless be true that it is raining and I don't believe it. How can saying what can be true make no sense?


It does not "make sense" because one does not honestly say, "it is raining" when one does not believe that it is raining. So conjoining that with "I don't believe it" then results in something that would not normally be stated, even though it would possibly result in a true statement. This is because, when one says, "it is raining" seriously and honestly, you know the person believes that it is raining, but that is not what is explicitly stated. So the person not believing it would be literally compatible with what is asserted, but it is not compatible with the action of the person honestly and seriously asserting it.
Egregias
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:19 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137937 wrote:
I mean that if someone said "It is raining, but I don't believe it" I would not understand him.

Not understand, or not believe? Surely you understand "It is raining" and you also understand "I don't believe it is raining".
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:30 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;137938 wrote:
It does not "make sense" because one does not honestly say, "it is raining" when one does not believe that it is raining. So conjoining that with "I don't believe it" then results in something that would not normally be stated, even though it would possibly result in a true statement. This is because, when one says, "it is raining" seriously and honestly, you know the person believes that it is raining, but that is not what is explicitly stated. So the person not believing it would be literally compatible with what is asserted, but it is not compatible with the action of the person honestly and seriously asserting it.


Yes, it clearly has to do with the truth conditions of expressing the proposition, and not with the truth conditions of the proposition being expressed. There is a failure of the former, not of the latter. But it takes some doing to say what that failure comes to.

---------- Post added 03-09-2010 at 01:34 PM ----------

Egregias;137942 wrote:
Not understand, or not believe? Surely you understand "It is raining" and you also understand "I don't believe it is raining".


Yes, but I would not understand them linked as they are. I understand "intellectual", and I understand "banana fritters". But I don't understand "intellectual banana fritters".
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:37 pm
@Egregias,
Egregias;137942 wrote:
kennethamy;137937 wrote:
I mean that if someone said "It is raining, but I don't believe it" I would not understand him.
Not understand, or not believe? Surely you understand "It is raining" and you also understand "I don't believe it is raining".


"Not understand" is correct. There is no difficulty in the two conjuncts of that conjunction if they were separate and not part of a conjunction, but there is a problem with them conjoined together. See my post above (post #15).

When a person honestly and seriously says, "it is raining", the person believes that it is raining, even though that is not the literal meaning of the sentence (as it is a sentence about atmospheric conditions, not a statement about the mental states of the speaker). But in saying it, the person conveys more than just what is said, because the action of saying it conveys additional information that is not part of the literal meaning of the sentence. Many of the additional bits are trivial and not relevant to the point, as when someone else speaks, you know that the person has not lost his or her voice, and other such things. But the part that is relevant to Moore's statement is that you also know that if the person is being serious and honest, the person believes that it is raining. The sentence, "It is raining, but I don't believe it" being uttered, then, conveys a kind of contradiction, but it is not itself literally a contradiction, because the first conjunct is not literally about the person's beliefs; only the second one is. But the first conjunct would not be honestly and seriously uttered unless the speaker believed it.
0 Replies
 
Egregias
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 12:52 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137945 wrote:
I understand "intellectual", and I understand "banana fritters". But I don't understand "intellectual banana fritters".

If someone told me that they'd met a banana fritter recently who discoursed quite lucidly on the meaning of "meaning", I'd understand that statement clearly enough. Are you a bit dim?
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 01:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137937 wrote:
I mean that if someone said "It is raining, but I don't believe it" I would not understand him.


I understand it just fine. It means that it is raining and the person doesn't believe it is raining. What don't you understand?
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Moore's Paradox
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 08/04/2021 at 06:43:33