Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

David Longley David at longley.demon.co.uk
Wed Feb 11 08:43:39 EST 2004


In article <y21kbro5ahwt.fsf at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU>, Ashlie Benjamin 
Hocking <abh2n at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU> writes
>"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com> writes:
>> GS: I remember that I have to give a lecture later today. If I said "I
>> remembered that I gave a lecture today." you would say that I am
>> "remembering the past event." By the same token if I say "I remember that I
>> have to give a lecture later today." we must say that I am remembering a
>> future event. That is certainly how the language game is played. Trust me.
>
>I think that if you say "I remember that I have to give a lecture
>today", then you are remembering a past event - namely that you
>committed (in the past) to give a lecture today. Consider this: if a
>bomb threat prevents you from giving that lecture, oes that mean you
>misremembered? Most everyone would say no, you remembered that you had
>to give a lecture today correctly, but something prevented you from
>giving it. However, if you consider it to be a memory of a "future"
>event, then clearly you misremembered it (or worse, you _lied_ about
>it!).
>
>---------------------------------------------------------------------
>                          | "Good and evil both increase at compound
>Ben Hocking, Grad Student | interest. That is why the little
>hocking at cs.virginia.edu   | decisions you and I make every day are of
>                          | such infinite importance." - C. S. Lewis
>---------------------------------------------------------------------

The point to grasp, surely, is that "remembering that" (like the other 
verbs of propositional attitude) is an intensional idiom, and if one 
looks carefully into the problematic nature of these contexts instead of 
offering one's own favoured way of resolving them - one comes to 
acknowledge that the serious quandaries in logic and rationality 
characteristic of such contexts might be be taken as evidence that there 
is something wrong with our folk psychological vernacular. That should 
not, as I have said many times now, surprise us. That some folk find 
that it does really just shows that they are not psychologists or have 
limited knowledge of the variation or scope of behaviour. It should not 
surprise us because that's *why* we do research - and in doing so, we 
should not take the reliability of our tacit folk psychology for 
granted.

Incidentally, a propos a comment I made in an earlier post, Baker (of 
the Baker and Hacker partnership), died in 2002:

http://www.harvard60.org/baker.html
-- 
David Longley



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