Friday, October 12, 2018

Being mistaken about what you believe


  1. I don’t believe (1).

Add that I am opinionated on what I believe:

  1. For each proposition p, I either believe that I believe p or believe that I do not believe p.

Finally, add:

  1. My beliefs are closed under entailment.

Now I either believe (1) or not. If I do not believe (1), then I don’t believe that I don’t believe (1), by closure. But thus, by (2), I do believe that I do believe (1). Hence in this case:

  1. I am mistaken about what I do or do not believe.

Now suppose I do believe (1). Then I believe that I don’t believe (1), by closure and by what (1) says. So, (4) is still true.

Thus, we have an argument that if I am opinionated on what I believe and my beliefs are closed under entailment, then I am mistaken as to what I believe.

(Again, we need some way of getting God out of this paradox. Maybe the fact that God’s knowledge is non-discursive helps.)


Walter Van den Acker said...


We do we "need" a way of getting God out of this paradox? It seem pretty ad hoc to try and get God out of every paradox. What if the paradox shows that God is not the way you think He is?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Because God in fact exists and is omniscient. :-)

Moreover, it's not implausible to think that something else is going on in the case of God, given divine simplicity and the infinite difference between God and us.