Attitudes and ascriptions in Stalnaker models

  • Brian BallEmail author


What role, if any, should centered possible worlds play in characterizing the attitudes? Lewis (Philos Rev 88(4):513–543, 1979) argued (in effect) that, in order to account for the phenomena of self-location (Perry in Philos Rev 86(4):474–497, 1977, Noûs 13(1):3–21, 1979), the contents of the attitudes should be taken to be centered propositions (i.e. sets of centered worlds). Stalnaker (Our knowledge of the internal world, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008, in: Brown, Cappelen (eds) Assertion: New philosophical essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011, Context, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014), however, has argued that while centered worlds are needed to characterize e.g. belief states, the contents of such states should be understood as ordinary, uncentered propositions (cf. Hintikka in Knowledge and belief, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1962). But Stalnaker does not, as is common, provide a semantics of attitude ascriptions based on the models he develops of the attitudinal states themselves. This paper begins to explore the prospects for doing so. It argues that a simple but well-motivated approach does not yield the principles of knowledge and belief Stalnaker endorses; and that a modification which does brings with it worries of its own surrounding communication and learnability. A technical appendix contains novel and pertinent results in doxastic/epistemic logic.


Self-location Centered worlds Propositional attitudes Attitude ascriptions Stalnaker models Factivity Transparency Introspection Doxastic logic Epistemic logic 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New College of the HumanitiesLondonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Philosophy, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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