Philosophical Studies

, Volume 127, Issue 3, pp 383-414

First online:

Moore’s Paradoxes and Conscious Belief*

  • John Nicholas WilliamsAffiliated withSchool of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University Email author 

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For Moore, it is a paradox that although I would be absurd in asserting that (it is raining but I don’t believe it is) or that (it is raining but I believe it isn’t), such assertions might be true. But I would be also absurd in judging that the contents of such assertions are true. I argue for the strategy of explaining the absurdity of Moorean assertion in terms of conscious Moorean belief. Only in this way may the pathology of Moorean absurdity be adequately explained in terms of self-contradiction. David Rosenthal disagrees with this strategy. Ironically, his higher-order thought account has the resources to fulfil it. Indeed once modified and supplemented, it compares favourably with Brentano’s rival account of conscious belief.