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Friedman on suspended judgment

  • Michal Masny


In a recent series of papers, Jane Friedman argues that suspended judgment is a sui generis first-order attitude, with a question (rather than a proposition) as its content. In this paper, I offer a critique of Friedman’s project. I begin by responding to her arguments against reductive higher-order propositional accounts of suspended judgment, and thus undercut the negative case for her own view. Further, I raise worries about the details of her positive account, and in particular about her claim that one suspends judgment about some matter if and only if one inquires into this matter. Subsequently, I use conclusions drawn from the preceding discussion to offer a tentative account: S suspends judgment about p iff (i) S believes that she neither believes nor disbelieves that p, (ii) S neither believes nor disbelieves that p, and (iii) S intends to judge that p or not-p.


Friedman Suspension of judgment Suspended judgment Agnosticism Inquiry Belief Interrogative attitude 



Thanks to Tim Williamson, Aleksander Domoslawski, Sam Clarke, Weng Kin San, and two anonymous referees for very helpful written comments and discussions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interests.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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