Evans on transparency: a rationalist account

Daniel Stoljar*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Gareth Evans famously observed that he can answer the question ‘Do you think there is going to be a third world war?’ by attending to “precisely the same outward phenomena as I would attend to if I were answering the question ‘Will there be a third world war?’” (The varieties of reference, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 225, 1982). I argue that this observation follows from two independently plausible ideas in philosophy of mind. The first is about rationality and consciousness: it is that to be rational is in part to be required to believe that you are in a conscious state if you are in one, at least if various background conditions are met. The second is about consciousness and attention: it is that consciousness in a belief state consists in its subject engaging, to a sufficient extent, in a certain sort of world-directed attention. I also argue that this suggestion is superior to others that have been made in the literature regarding Evan’s observation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2067-2085
    Number of pages19
    JournalPhilosophical Studies
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


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