Volume 16, Issue 3, 2016
Symposium on Themes from Work of Ilhan Inan
Comments on Inan’s Notions of Objectual and Propositional Curiosity
In this paper I comment on Inan’s notions of propositional and objectual curiosity. Even though Inan offers an interesting and intuitive distinction between propositional and objectual curiosity, I want to question two aspects of his theory of curiosity. One aspect concerns his thesis that propositional curiosity is interdependent on epistemic attitudes such as belief, certainty and interest. Another aspect of his theory that I discuss is his thesis that objectual curiosity is not reducible to propositional curiosity. In more detail, in the fi rst part, I start off by explaining what propositional curiosity is according to Inan and I bring up two worries that I call: (i) over-complexity as a result of subjectivity and (ii) overcomplexity as a result of dynamics for the above mentioned epistemic attitudes. Both worries stress the problem of over-complexity of Inan’s theory of propositional curiosity. In the second part, I argue that objectual curiosity is, contrary to Inan’s hypothesis, reducible to propositional curiosity. I further argue that the object of wh- questions that, according to Inan, express objectual curiosity can either be about the truth value of general or singular proposition. In addition, I suggest that only the reading where wh- questions express curiosity in a form of de re reading and have a singular proposition as their content is the one that is compatible with Inan’s notion of objectual curiosity.