Against_an_Inferentialist_Dogma.pdf

E the fact that p the proposition that p and so any

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reasons1 are propositional in structure – i.e. the fact that p, the proposition that p. And so any mental state that provided subjective access to some other, unsuitable sort of chunk of reality, could not be a reason2 for belief. (B) Even supposing that there can be non-propositional reasons1 – e.g. an object, an event etc – any mental state which provided subjective access to such a reason1 would (for reasons to be discussed below) still also have to possess a propositional content in order for it to play the role of a reason2 for belief 16 . At times it seems clear that Ginsborg is simply assuming that only facts or propositions could be reasons1, and so is engaged in making the former argument (A). E.g. ‘However, according to the object view, your experience does not bring into view any facts about the package, but only the package itself. And the package itself cannot count in favour, either of the belief that it is a package, or of the belief that there is a package in front of you. Not being a fact or proposition, it is simply not the right kind of thing to serve as a reason1 for a belief .’ (p145, emphasis added) Here it seems clear that she is seeking to advance argument (A). Just after the above-quoted passage, Ginsborg turns to considering a ‘possible response’ which insists that objects and their properties can (together) amount to a reason1, and so an experience which provided a subjective perspective on such a non- 15 I further discuss this possibility in section 5, below. 16 I think this sort of position, allowing non-propositional reasons1, but insisting that reasons2 are always propositional, can be thought of as opposite to the view Williamson seems to endorse, which effectively holds that reasons1 are always propositions, but allows that some reasons2, e.g. sensory experiences, are non-propositional. See the discussion of Williamson in the previous section, 3, above.
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propositional reason1 could be a reason2. Likewise she goes on to consider the position advanced by Mark Johnston (2006) that ‘perception presents us with states and events as well as objects and stuffs’ (p 146). And so it seems she is now no longer assuming that reasons1 must be propositional and so has turned to pursuing the second sort of argument, (B). However, a few pages later at the end of this discussion of Johnston’s proposal, Ginsborg apparently reverts to simply assuming that nothing but a fact/proposition could be a reason1 and that this is why an experience must possess propositional content in order to be a reason2: ‘The state of the package’s being brown, in contrast to the proposition that it is brown, cannot itself serve as a reason1, so the perception of that state cannot, simply as such, serve as a reason2.’ (p148, emphasis added) It is unclear then which argument, (A) or (B), is Ginsborg’s real concern – are we meant to briefly entertain the possibility of non-propositional reasons1 only to dismiss it again as illusory on further reflection? Or are we meant to allow the possibility of non-propositional reasons1 in order to see that even given
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