evidence as if it consists of propositions.
I shall assume for the sake of this discussion that evidenceis propositional and argue that M is false by arguing that M+ is false:M+: Necessarily, if two subjects are in the same non-factivemental states,
is included in the first subject’s evidenceiff
is included in the second subject’s evidence.
We cannot say that every proposition is included in everyone’s evidence, so there are two questionsto consider. What might prevent some proposition from being included in someone’s evidence?What does it take to get something into someone’s body of evidence? Let’s first tackle the firstquestion. If
is not a piece of evidence,
will not be part of S’s body of evidence.
S might treat
as if it is a piece of evidence, but that is not obviously the same thing. As claims about evidence go,this one seems pretty innocuous. This next claim is not so nearly innocuous. If
is not true,
isnot a piece of evidence (ET). Linguistic evidence suggests that evidence ascriptions are factive, sothe evidence suggests that evidence consists of only true propositions.Consider two exchanges concerning an upcoming trial.I. Scarlet: Does the prosecution have solid evidence against Mustard?Green: The prosecution thinks it does. Here’s the evidence they have:that he was the last one to see the victim alive, that he lied abouthis whereabouts on the night of the crime, that his fingerprintswere on the murder weapon, and that he wrote a letter containingdetails the police think only the killer could have known. That being said, Mustard wasn’t the last one to see the victim alive, he
See Williamson (2000) and Neta (2008) for arguments for the view that evidence is propositional.In discussing Williamson’s view, Conee and Feldman (2008: 101) say that they need not deny thatevidence is propositional in the course of explaining why they think their mentalist view ispreferable to Williamson’s.
Some will say that nothing is a piece of evidence unless it is a piece of evidence
something andthat no proposition can be evidence for something unless it raises the probability that theproposition that it is evidence for is true. I don’t disagree. I will talk about something being a bitof evidence without saying what it is evidence for, but that is not because I think there arepropositions that are evidence without being evidence for something or other. As the class of propositions that does not do this seems rather small, this does not do much to excludepropositions from being propositions that are part of someone’s evidence.