[hist-analytic] Carnap and Grice on "psychology" ('assertion' and 'belief')

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Mar 12 13:46:50 EST 2010

In a message dated 3/8/2010 7:13:26  rbj at rbjones.com  writes:

"Feigl which is about 
physicalism and the foundations of  psychology, but Carnap's 
response, in which he mostly agrees with Feigl, he  omits the 
mention of psychology, and it looks like he just addressed  
general questions about physicalism without specific 
reference to  psychology." ...
Well I think philosophers should dig into other disciplines, 
to  whatever depth suits them.  Of course there is a risk of 
getting egg al  over your face.  And of being ignored."
I don't know! So perhaps we could examine Carnap on one specific  
psychological concept, such as 'belief' -- he did work on 'subjective  probability', 
right? And that would involve measure of belief, assent, or what  have you. 
Never mind being ignored by a psychologist. I have no ignorance  complex!
Prob. 1
Prob  0
Prob < .5
Prob > .5
I have loads of material on this by Griceans -- notably Peacocke and Pears. 
 The idea that:
A: It's raining!
B: Possibly.   --> prob. < 0.5
A: It's raining!
B: Probably.   --> prob. > 0.5
But not everybody is a stickler for that usage (to use "possibly" and  
"probably" like that.
Then there's 'desire' and 'intention'. It is held, by Pears and Peacocke  
(e.g. Pears in the Vermazen/Hintikka book on Davidson's Actions and  Events:
I intend that p.  I believe p will be achieved with prob. >  0.5
You can DESIRE things with lower probabilities, but to INTEND them you need 
 some degree of certainty that it will occur. Grice did speak of 
"Uncertainty" in  various cases (notably his Brit. Ac. lecture, "Uncertainty and 
Intention"  --.
So I would assume that these matters of 'subjective probability' which ARE  
more or less quantifiable, would have appealed the formalist in Carnap, 
etc.  ---

J. L. Speranza

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