Gullible Yet Intelligible

  • Daniel O'Brien


In this paper I describe the imaginary community of Gullible. Gulliblians are led by moral pressures to believe whatever they are told and, in the scenario that I sketch, this leads to them having widespread contradictory beliefs. This community is nevertheless intelligible to us given what we know about their situation and their moral code. Davidson, however, holds there to be what I call a logicist constraint on interpretation: thinkers can only be interpreted if a good proportion of their beliefs are rational and, for Davidson, rationality entails logical consistency. The possibility of Gullible therefore forces us to reject this logicist aspect of Davidson’s account of interpretation and intelligibility.