Against Boghossian, Wright and Broome on inference
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I argue that the accounts of inference recently presented (in this journal) by Paul Boghossian, John Broome, and Crispin Wright are unsatisfactory. I proceed in two steps: First, in Sects. 1 and 2, I argue that we should not accept what Boghossian calls the “Taking Condition on inference” as a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. I present a different condition of adequacy and argue that it is superior to the one offered by Boghossian. More precisely, I point out that there is an analog of Moore’s Paradox for inference; and I suggest that explaining this phenomenon is a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. Boghossian’s Taking Condition derives its plausibility from the fact that it apparently explains the analog of Moore’s Paradox. Second, in Sect. 3, I show that neither Boghossian’s, nor Broome’s, nor Wright’s account of inference meets my condition of adequacy. I distinguish two kinds of mistake one is likely to make if one does not focus on my condition of adequacy; and I argue that all three—Boghossian, Broome, and Wright—make at least one of these mistakes.
KeywordsInference Reasoning Moore’s Paradox Boghossian Broome Wright
I would like to thank Crispin Wright, Chris Peacocke, Bob Brandom, James Shaw, Kieran Setiya, Jack Woods and the audience at the graduate student workshop in philosophy at Columbia University for helpful discussions and comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
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