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A Solution to Kripke’s Puzzle about Belief

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Lexi Andrist

In the philosophy of language, a widely discussed problem is that of reference. Although there are many problems that arise when speaking of reference, the one I will be discussing is a problem that arises when a speaker is utilizing a word and its translation (in a different language) in the same sentence, which leads to seemingly referencing multiple objects but in actuality the individual is only referring to one object, which can lead an individual to hold contradictory beliefs. In "A Puzzle About Belief," Kripke proposed a puzzle in which a person named Pierre believes that the city of London is ugly, but that the city Londres (the French translation of London) is pretty. This is a problem, because London and Londres are the same city, and both names are denoting the same city; which leads to the problem of contradictory belief. One of Pierre's beliefs must be false, and Kripke holds we cannot know the answer of which is false and cannot solve the puzzle. I will argue that this puzzle can be solved through the utilization of individual's idiolects (individual dialects). I argue that by utilizing idiolects one can create a framework in which belief should be based; this framework being that how we theorize one's belief of things should be based de dicto (on the word used to present the object) rather than purely de re (the object itself). Following the establishment of how one's belief should be based, I will disprove the principle of translation (which states that if a statement is true in one language, it should also be true in another language) through the use of idiolects; as all individuals use words differently, which makes the de dicto meaning of the words change, thus circumventing the problem that Kripke is posing. Finally, I will address some potential objections to my solution. These objections will be regarding the use of idiolects being considered insignificant, as well as contexts in which is the principle of translation can and should be utilized.
University / Institution: Southern Utah University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Gretchen Ellefson
Location: Union Building, ROOM 312 (11:05am)