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Moore's Paradox

 
 
Egregias
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:37 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138334 wrote:
I would not know what someone meant if he said it. I know what it means to believe something that is false, if that is what you have in mind.
It seems there is a mystery as to what he means only if you assume he is sincere. If you accept that one of the two statements is a lie then there is no paradox. Or does the ", but" make it one statement?
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138338 wrote:
Just because I know what it means to be dead, doesn't mean I know what someone would mean when he asserted that he was dead.


Why doesn't it?

You know what "I own a dog" means. So when I say "I own a dog" you know what it means.

He would mean "I am dead". What's so difficult?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:45 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;138343 wrote:
Why doesn't it?

You know what "I own a dog" means. So when I say "I own a dog" you know what it means.

He would mean "I am dead". What's so difficult?


Except I might find it hard to understand how, if it were true, he could utter it. Wouldn't you? The same thing is true about uttering the problem sentence.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138345 wrote:
Except I might find it hard to understand how, if it were true, he could utter it. Wouldn't you? The same thing is true about uttering the problem sentence.


If he's dead, yea it would be hard to utter it...

If it's raining, not such a problem...
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:50 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;138346 wrote:
If he's dead, yea it would be hard to utter it...

If it's raining, not such a problem...


"It is raining, but I don't believe it"? Why not?
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138348 wrote:
"It is raining, but I don't believe it"


See you just uttered/typed it. That wasn't so hard, was it?
Egregias
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:01 pm
@kennethamy,
Ken, do you see an important difference between "I am dead" and Moore's sentence? If not, I fail to see what you're on about. With "I am dead" the bugger's either daft or putting you on, no paradox, end of story.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 04:16 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;138352 wrote:
See you just uttered/typed it. That wasn't so hard, was it?


I did. But that isn't what I said was hard. I said that it was hard to make sense of my uttering or typing it.

---------- Post added 03-10-2010 at 05:20 PM ----------

Egregias;138354 wrote:
Ken, do you see an important difference between "I am dead" and Moore's sentence? If not, I fail to see what you're on about. With "I am dead" the bugger's either daft or putting you on, no paradox, end of story.


And in the case of Moore's example? The speaker claims it is raining, but also claims it is false? And that isn't daft?
Egregias
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 04:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138397 wrote:
And in the case of Moore's example? The speaker claims it is raining, but also claims it is false? And that isn't daft?

Yes indeed. In the case of "I am dead" I suggested that the statement was perfectly understandable, merely false. No paradox, no mystery.

I am wondering what it is about Moore's example that you find paradoxical.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 09:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138268 wrote:

As I pointed out, what is said could easily be true. But what is problematic is the saying of it. Just as, the proposition, "I am dead" could easily be true, but what is problematic is the saying of it. There is no missing information. It is that the truth conditions for a proposition are not the same as the conditions for the utterance of the proposition, and sometimes they may conflict; as in the instance of the example.


If there is an implicit "I believe" then the statement reads

"I believe it is raining and I don't believe it"

And that can't be true

The missing information, the implicit "I believe" is the only thing that makes the utterance absurd while still allowing the proposition to be true.
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 10:33 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;138514 wrote:
If there is an implicit "I believe" then the statement reads

"I believe it is raining and I don't believe it"

And that can't be true

The missing information, the implicit "I believe" is the only thing that makes the utterance absurd while still allowing the proposition to be true.


There have been plenty of times when I saw something that was actual and at the moment of seeing it I didn't believe in its actuality. At these times I usually search for explanations for what is happening other than the actual thing that is happening.

So the utterance of this type of proposition can be true.

--
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 11:05 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;138521 wrote:
There have been plenty of times when I saw something that was actual and at the moment of seeing it I didn't believe in its actuality. At these times I usually search for explanations for what is happening other than the actual thing that is happening.

So the utterance of this type of proposition can be true.

--


But that would be "I see that it is raining but I don't believe it." Very different from "I believe that it is raining but I don't believe it." First proposition could be true. Second proposition cannot be true.
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 12:40 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;138524 wrote:
But that would be "I see that it is raining but I don't believe it." Very different from "I believe that it is raining but I don't believe it." First proposition could be true. Second proposition cannot be true.


I am going by Kenneth's original post:

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?



If I am searching for explanations other than what I am seeing then it is not correct for me to say that "I am seeing that it is raining but I don't believe it." For, in this case, "It is raining" would need to be externally verified.

But Kenneth states in non-propositional terms that "it can be true that it is raining and I don't believe it". And this I believe can really be true. And this is what I meant even though I don't have a specific proposition to express it.

But, I think you are correct Deckard. The utterance cannot be that "It is raining but I don't believe it". Because, as I said, the condition of rain can obtain as a fact only if its actuality originates from outside of the person who doesn't believe that it is raining.


-
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 01:18 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;138542 wrote:

If I am searching for explanations other than what I am seeing then it is not correct for me to say that "I am seeing that it is raining but I don't believe it." For, in this case, "It is raining" would need to be externally verified.

But Kenneth states in non-propositional terms that "it can be true that it is raining and I don't believe it". And this I believe can really be true. And this is what I meant even though I don't have a specific proposition to express it.

But, I think you are correct Deckard. The utterance cannot be that "It is raining but I don't believe it". Because, as I said, the condition of rain can obtain as a fact only if its actuality originates from outside of the person who doesn't believe that it is raining.

-


I'm uncertain what "non-propositional terms" means. Does that mean utterance?

Believing it is not raining is subjective, that much is certain. It is raining is (or is not) can only be understood as the assertion of an objective fact unless there is some explicit or implicit qualifier like "I believe". I think this objectivity is what you are talking about when you say "can only obtain as fact if its actuality originates from outside the person". But the speaker is always expressing that which he experiences/understands subjectively. With statements involving belief, so long as the speaker is honest, they represent objective fact.

I feel like we're not getting to the root of the problem. I feel like I'm failing to see the significance. I don't understand why Wittgenstein got so excited about this.

There's a very thorough paper online here http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2346/is_n409_v103/ai_14916924/ It seems to be readable.

Here is the paradox restated from the beginning of that paper.

Quote:
"I believe that it is raining but it isn't." It would be perfectly absurd, claimed Moore, to say this or its like. But why? After all, it is clearly possible that I should believe that it is raining when it is not, that others should realise and remark on the error I make. Why should my doing so myself be somehow absurd?
It is that last question that is all important. "Why should my doing so myself be somehow absurd?" The my was omitted in the OP statement of the paradox though it was implicit. I'll try to get through that paper over the next couple days and check back with this thread then.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 06:51 am
@Egregias,
Egregias;138411 wrote:
Yes indeed. In the case of "I am dead" I suggested that the statement was perfectly understandable, merely false. No paradox, no mystery.

I am wondering what it is about Moore's example that you find paradoxical.


In both examples, if the statement is true, it cannot be asserted without absurdity. As I put it, the conditions of its assertion conflict with its conditions of truth. I consider that paradoxical.

The issue is instructive because it clearly distinguishes the conditions of assertion from the conditions of true of a statement. These are sometimes confused in philosophy. For instance, it is sometimes argued that knowledge implies truth because one cannot assert, "I know that p, but p is not true". That argument is fallacious because is confuses the conditions of assertion with the condition of true. (But the way, I think that knowledge does imply truth, but, of course, not on account of that argument). Another example is the argument that the statement, "I exist" is certain, because the assertion "I do not exist" is absurd. And, in fact, all arguments of the form, this statement is true because it makes no sense to assert this statement is false, are suspect because of the distinction between truth conditions and assertability conditions.
0 Replies
 
Ahab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 08:47 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;138268 wrote:
There is no assertion that it is not raining.


I believe that there is an assertion that it is not raining in the example sentence you've provided: "It is raining, but I don't believe it."

Let us suppose that it is Ken who has said, "I don't believe it is raining." And Barbie tells you that "Ken does not believe it is raining."

In the first sentence, Ken is making an expression of belief. In the second, Barbie is making an ascription of belief.

We can sensibly go on to ask Barbie whether or not it is raining, but we cannot do that with Ken. The ascriber of the belief that p takes no stand on p. But the one expressing a belief does take the stand that p.

There is a tendency in philosophy to treat all sentences the same, as if they were all, for example, some type of description. Moore should have considered the assertoric force of expressions of belief.
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 09:17 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?

To sort this out, it might be easier to look at "I am dead".

The paradox arises from Plato's insistence that there is only one language-game. In that case, I am dead literally means that I am dead, and in that metaphysical frame I cannot possible be saying that while the proposition is true.

In Wittgenstein's language-games, "I am dead" just means that I am no longer a player in that game, that I am metaphysically (relative to that language-game) dead, but not otherwise. For example, that I have lost and I am now out of the game.
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 12:11 pm
@kennethamy,
Justified true belief should be independent conditions. That means that belief or truth can be satisfied independently of external justification.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 12:41 pm
@Ahab,
Ahab;138608 wrote:
I believe that there is an assertion that it is not raining in the example sentence you've provided: "It is raining, but I don't believe it."

Let us suppose that it is Ken who has said, "I don't believe it is raining." And Barbie tells you that "Ken does not believe it is raining."

In the first sentence, Ken is making an expression of belief. In the second, Barbie is making an ascription of belief.

We can sensibly go on to ask Barbie whether or not it is raining, but we cannot do that with Ken. The ascriber of the belief that p takes no stand on p. But the one expressing a belief does take the stand that p.

There is a tendency in philosophy to treat all sentences the same, as if they were all, for example, some type of description. Moore should have considered the assertoric force of expressions of belief.



Where did Barbie come from? Ken says, "It is raining, but I don't believe it" There is no assertion that it is not raining. "I don't believe it is raining" does not assert that it is not raining, if that is what you happen to mean.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2010 12:50 pm
@bluemist phil,
bluemist;138613 wrote:
To sort this out, it might be easier to look at "I am dead".

The paradox arises from Plato's insistence that there is only one language-game. In that case, I am dead literally means that I am dead, and in that metaphysical frame I cannot possible be saying that while the proposition is true.

In Wittgenstein's language-games, "I am dead" just means that I am no longer a player in that game, that I am metaphysically (relative to that language-game) dead, but not otherwise. For example, that I have lost and I am now out of the game.


Why not then say "I have lost." or "I am no longer a player in that game." It is more to the point. It seems if someone says "I am dead" they are speaking more metaphorically than metaphysically. Is there more to saying "I am dead" in Wittgenstein's language games than this? I guess what I'm asking is why did you use the word "metaphysically" instead of "metaphorically"?
 

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