more from Frank P. Ramsey

Single Idea 14279

[catalogued under 10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / e. Supposition conditionals]

Full Idea

If two people are arguing 'If p, will q?' and are both in doubt as to p, they are adding p hypothetically to their stock of knowledge, and arguing on that basis about q; ...they are fixing their degrees of belief in q given p.

Gist of Idea

Asking 'If p, will q?' when p is uncertain, then first add p hypothetically to your knowledge


Frank P. Ramsey (Law and Causality [1928], B 155 n)

Book Reference

Ramsey,Frank: 'Philosophical Papers', ed/tr. Mellor,D.H. [CUP 1990], p.155

A Reaction

This has become famous as the 'Ramsey Test'. Bennett emphasises that he is not saying that you should actually believe p - you are just trying it for size. The presupposition approach to conditionals seems attractive. Edgington likes 'degrees'.