Strong Belief Is Ordinary
Roger Clarke (Queen's University, Belfast), Roger Clarke (University of British Columbia)

part of: Is Belief Weak?
September 6, 2022, 4:00pm - 7:00pm
School of Philosophy, Zhejiang University

Hangzhou 310058

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

Go to conference's page


Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University

Topic areas


Abstract: In an influential recent paper, Hawthorne, Rothschild, and Spectre (“HRS”) argue that belief is weak. More precisely: they argue that the referent of believe in ordinary language is much weaker than epistemologists usually suppose; that one needs very little evidence to be entitled to believe a proposition in this sense; and that the referent of believe in ordinary language just is the ordinary concept of belief. I argue here to the contrary. HRS identify two alleged tests of weakness—the neg-raising and weak upper bounds tests, as I call them—which they claim believe and think pass. But I identify several other expressions in ordinary English for attributing belief, all of which fail both tests. Therefore, even if HRS are correct that believe and think refer to a weak attitude, it does not follow that the ordinary concept of belief is weak. I conclude by raising some problems for the accounts of belief as guessing, building on HRS’s arguments, due to Kevin Dorst, Matt Mandelkern, and Ben Holguín.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.