, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 165–187 | Cite as

Must Differences in Cognitive Value be Transparent?

Original Article


Frege’s ‘differential dubitability’ test is a test for differences in cognitive value: if one can rationally believe that p while simultaneously doubting that q, then the contents p and q amount to different ‘cognitive values’. If subject S is rational, does her simultaneous adoption of different attitudes towards p and q require that the difference between p and q (as cognitive values) be transparent to her? It is natural to think so. But I argue that, if attitude anti-individualism is true, then rational differential dubitability does not presuppose that differences in cognitive value are transparent. The significance of this argument lies in what it tells us, both about the notion of cognitive value and its relation to the differential dubitability test, but also about the prospects for a Burge-type position which aims to combine attitude anti-individualism with a (qualified) reliance on the differential dubitability test.


Frege Differential dubitability Frege test Cognitive significance Cognitive value Transparency Content Sense 



I would like to thank audiences at UCLA (the Epistemology Group) and the “Language, Mind, and Context” Workshop in Punta del Este, Uruguay (August 2006), where I have given versions of this paper; the individuals Dorit Bar-On, Jessica Brown, Tyler Burge, Ben Caplan, Mikkel Gerken, Brie Gertler, Tim Kenyon, Nicolaj Pedersen, Keith Simmons, Liza Skidelski, Rob Stainton, and Chris Viger, for helpful discussions and/or comments on earlier drafts; and two anonymous referees for this journal, for their comments on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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