, Volume 190, Issue 15, pp 2981–2999

A Non-factualist defense of the Reflection principle


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-012-0114-y

Cite this article as:
Beardman, S. Synthese (2013) 190: 2981. doi:10.1007/s11229-012-0114-y


Are there plausible synchronic constraints on how a subject thinks of herself extended over time? At first glance, Bas van Fraassen’s principle of Reflection seems to prescribe the sort of epistemic authority one’s future self should be taken by one to have over one’s current epistemic states. (The gist of this principle is that I should now believe what I’m convinced I will believe tomorrow.) There has been a general consensus that, as a principle concerning epistemic authority, Reflection does not apply to epistemically non-ideal agents. I agree with this, but argue here that it misses the point of Reflection. Rather than an epistemic principle concerning reasons for belief, Reflection concerns the semantics of belief avowal. I present a non-factual interpretation of Reflection, argue that the principle provides a constraint on the ways in which one can reflectively endorse one’s future epistemic self, and say something about the logic governing such an interpretation.


Reflection principleNonfactualismvan FraassenRational requirement

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBarnard College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA