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Abstract: In the first chapter of his Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne argues that thinkers do not ordinarily know lottery propositions. His arguments depend on claims about the intimate connections between knowledge and assertion, epistemic possibility, practical reasoning, and theoretical reasoning. In this paper, we cast doubt on the proposed connections. We also put forward an alternative picture of belief and reasoning. In particular, we argue that assertion is governed by a Gricean constraint that makes no reference to knowledge, and that practical reasoning has more to do with rational degrees of belief than with states of knowledge.
Abstract: In this essay I first review Kaplan’s theory of linguistic character, and then explain and motivate a concept of doxastic character. I then develop some concepts for dealing with the topic of belief retention and then, finally, discuss Rip Van Winkle. I come down on Kaplan’s side with respect to the Frege-inspired strategy, narrowly construed. But I advocate something like the Frege-inspired strategy, if it is construed more broadly. On my view it is remarkably easy to retain a belief, and I think Evans is quite wrong about Rip and Kaplan. The central concept I develop, however, that of an information game, is in the spirit of much of Evans’ work. I also borrow some of his terminology.
Abstract: Various systems that learn are examined to show how content is carried in connections installed by a learning history. Agents do not explicitly use the content of such states in practical reasoning, yet the content plays an important role in explaining behavior, and the physical state carrying that content plays a role in causing behavior, given other occurrent beliefs and desires. This leads to an understanding of the environmental reasons which are the determinate content of these states, and leads to a better grasp of how representational content can be carried by systems without an explicit representation
Abstract: Questions about the relationship between thought and language, while central to an understanding of the nature of intentionality, are often obscure. I suggest that such questions be framed by asking whether necessary truths which connect mental and linguistic properties are to be explained in terms of the essence of the mental, or of the linguistic, properties. I argue, first, that the disquotational principle, which connects the contents of the beliefs of agents with the meanings of sentences of their language, is such a necessary truth; second, that its necessity requires explanation; third, that it cannot be explained in terms of the `interdependence' of meaning and belief; and fourth, that it cannot be explained in terms of a theory of meaning which takes the meanings of sentences to be inherited from the beliefs with which they are correlated. I conclude by arguing that the view that social facts about public language meaning are part of the story about what it is to have a belief with a given content is more plausible than is usually thought.
Abstract: Humans have two kinds of beliefs, intuitive beliefs and reflective beliefs. Intuitive beliefs are a most fundamental category of cognition, defined in the architecture of the mind. They are formulated in an intuitive mental lexicon. Humans are also capable of entertaining an indefinite variety of higher-order or "reflective" propositional attitudes, many of which are of a credal sort. Reasons to hold "reflective beliefs" are provided by other beliefs that describe the source of the reflective belief as reliable, or that provide explicit arguments in favour of the reflective belief. The mental lexicon of reflective beliefs includes not only intuitive, but also reflective concepts
Abstract: When I talk about the objects of belief I do not mean, e.g., the sun to which my thought that the sun will rise tomorrow refers; I do not mean the objects we think about. I take objects rather in a general philosophical sense; they simply are the bearers of properties and the relata of relations. I am thus concerned with the objects that are related by the belief relation „_a_ believes that _p_“. In this scheme „ _a _“ represents a person or an epistemic subject; but I am not going to discuss what a person is. „ _p _“ or „that _p _“ represents an object, namely the object of belief; and I am going to discuss what this is. In other words, I am interested in belief contents – to use a less neutral, narrower and equally unclear term
Abstract: This paper explores the sense in which belief "aims at the truth". In this course of this exploration, it discusses the difference between belief and make-believe, the nature of psychoanalytic explanation, the supposed "normativity of meaning", and related topics
Abstract: There is an apparent tension in current accounts of the relationship between reason giving and self knowledge. On the one hand, philosophers like Richard Moran (2001) claim that deliberation and justification can give rise to first-person authority over the attitudes that subjects form or defend on the basis of what they take to be their best reasons. On the other hand, the psychological evidence on the introspection effects and the literature on elusive reasons suggest that engaging in explicit deliberation or justification leads subjects to report attitudes that are not consistent with their previous attitudes or with their future behavior. On the basis of these findings, Tim Wilson (2002) argues that analyzing reasons compromises self knowledge. I shall defend a realistic account of the effects of reason giving which is compatible with the empirical findings on introspection and also with the claim that deliberation and justification have epistemic benefits.
Abstract: There is no satisfactory account for the general phenomenon of confabulation, for the following reasons: (1) confabulation occurs in a number of pathological and non-pathological conditions; (2) impairments giving rise to confabulation are likely to have different neural bases; and (3) there is no unique theory explaining the aetiology of confabulations. An epistemic approach to defining confabulation could solve all of these issues, by focusing on the surface features of the phenomenon. However, existing epistemic accounts are unable to offer sufficient conditions for confabulation and tend to emphasise only its epistemic disadvantages. In this paper, we argue that a satisfactory epistemic account of confabulation should also acknowledge those features which are (potentially) epistemically advantageous. For example, confabulation may allow subjects to exercise some control over their own cognitive life which is instrumental to the construction or preservation of their sense of self.
Abstract: It is often taken for granted in standard theories of interpretation that there cannot be intentionality without rationality. According to the background argument, a system can be interpreted as having irrational beliefs only against a general background of rationality. Starting from the widespread assumption that delusions can be reasonably described as irrational beliefs, I argue here that the background argument fails to account for their intentional description
Abstract: D.S. Clarke has defended the claim that accepting that p entails believing that p. He refers to this thesis as “the entailment thesis.” In this paper I argue that we ought to reject the entailment thesis. Many philosophers have defended the claim that acceptance and belief are different types of mental states, or, at the very least, that there are ways of accepting propositions that are distinct from doxastic acceptance.1 Many would claim that belief and non-doxastic acceptance differ in some or all of the following six ways. First, belief aims at truth, while acceptance aims at utility or success. Second, belief is shaped by evidence; acceptance need not be shaped by evidence. Third, belief is contextindependent insofar as it is not shaped by an agent’s purposes, but acceptance is often context-dependent and shaped by an agent’s purposes. Fourth, belief is subject to an ideal of agglomeration, and acceptance is not regulated by any such ideal. Fifth, belief comes in degrees while acceptance is all or nothing. Finally, belief is not subject to direct voluntary control, while acceptance can be under our direct voluntary control (some holding that acceptance is also a mental action type). Not all of those who claim that there is a real difference between (non-doxastic) acceptance and belief take it that all of six of these are real distinctions between the two types of attitudes. And some take ‘acceptance’ to be a rather broad type that includes attitudes such as assuming, having faith, hypothesizing, imagining, trusting, and believing as ways of accepting propositions
Abstract: What is it for a group to believe something? A summative account assumes that for a group to believe that p most members of the group must believe that p. Accounts of this type are commonly proposed in interpretation of everyday ascriptions of beliefs to groups. I argue that a nonsummative account corresponds better to our unexamined understanding of such ascriptions. In particular I propose what I refer to as the joint acceptance model of group belief. I argue that group beliefs according to the joint acceptance model are important phenomena whose aetiology and development require investigation. There is an analogous phenomenon of social or group preference, which social choice theory tends to ignore
Abstract: The author develops and elaborates on her account of collective belief, something standardly referred to, in her view, when we speak of what we believe. This paper focuses on a special response hearers may experience in the context of expressions of belief, a response that may issue in offended rebukes to the speaker. It is argued that this response would be appropriate if both speakers and hearers were parties to what the authors calls a joint commitment to believe a certain proposition as a body. This joint commitment puts speakers under an obligation to refrain from speaking in certain ways, and gives hearers a correlative right to such refraining, and hence a basis for offended rebukes
Abstract: A widely accepted view in the discussion of personal identity is that the notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation. I argue that the belief is unfounded. Briefly: a notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation only if it includes as a constituent psychological properties whose relation with their bearer is one-many or many-one; but the relation between an indexical psychological state (a psychological state with indexical content) and its bearer in which it is first tokened is not a one-many or many-one relation. It follows that not all types of psychological continuity may take a one-many or many-one form. Since the Lockean account of personal identity relies on the availability of a notion of psychological continuity featuring indexical psychological states, the conclusion of this paper cast strong doubt on the plausibility of the Lockean theory.
Abstract: What we believe depends on more than the purely intrinsic facts about us: facts about our environment or context also help determine the contents of our beliefs. 1 This observation has led several writers to hope that beliefs can be divided, as it were, into two components: a "core" that depends only on the individual?s intrinsic properties; and a periphery that depends on the individual?s context, including his or her history, environment, and linguistic community. Thus Jaegwon Kim suggests that "within each noninternal psychological state that enters into the explanation of some action or behavior we can locate an ?internal core state? which can assume the causal-explanatory role of the noninternal state."2 In the same vein, Stephen Stich writes that "nonautonomous" states, like belief, are best viewed as "conceptually complex hybrids" made up of an autonomous component together with historical and contextual features.3 John Perry, whose term I have adopted, distinguishes between belief states, which are determined by an individual?s intrinsic properties, and objects of belief, which are not.4 And Daniel Dennett makes use of the same notion when he asks:5
Abstract: This chapter outlines a new argument for the view that language has a cognitive role. I suggest that humans exhibit two distinct kinds of belief state, one passively formed, the other actively formed. I argue that actively formed beliefs (_virtual beliefs_, as I call them) can be identified with _premising policies_, and that forming them typically involves certain linguistic operations. I conclude that natural language has at least a limited cognitive role in the formation and manipulation of virtual beliefs
Abstract: Many philosophers hold that for various reasons there must be psychological laws governing beliefs and desires. One of the few serious examples that they offer is the _belief-desire law_, which states, roughly, that _ceteris paribus_ people do what they believe will satisfy their desires. This paper argues that, in fact, there is no such law. In particular, decision theory does not support the contention that there is such a law
Abstract: I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate control
Abstract: By the age of two, children are able to engage in highly elaborate games of symbolic pretense, in which objects and actions in the actual world are taken to stand for objects and actions in a realm of make-believe. These games of pretense are marked by the presence of two central features, which I will call quarantining and mirroring (see also Leslie 1987; Perner 1991). Quarantining is manifest to the extent that events within the pretense-episode are taken to have effects only within that pretense-episode (e.g. the child does not expect that ‘spilling’ ( pretend) ‘tea’1 will result in the table really being wet), or more generally, to the extent that proto-beliefs and proto-attitudes concerning the pretended state of affairs are not treated as beliefs and attitudes relevant to guiding action in the actual world. Mirroring is manifest to the extent that features of the imaginary situation that have not been explicitly stipulated are derivable via features of their real-world analogues (e.g. the child does expect that if she up-ends the teapot above the table, then the table will become wet in the pretense), or, more generally to the extent that imaginative content is taken to be governed by the same sorts of restrictions that govern believed content
Abstract: In a penetrating investigation of the relationship between belief and quantitative degrees of confidence (or degrees of belief) Richard Foley (1992) suggests the following thesis: ... it is epistemically rational for us to believe a proposition just in case it is epistemically rational for us to have a sufficiently high degree of confidence in it, sufficiently high to make our attitude towards it one of belief. Foley goes on to suggest that rational belief may be just rational degree of confidence above some threshold level that the agent deems sufficient for belief. He finds hints of this view in Locke’s discussion of probability and degrees of assent, so he calls it the Lockean Thesis.1 The Lockean Thesis has important implications for the logic of belief. Most prominently, it implies that even a logically ideal agent whose degrees of confidence satisfy the axioms of probability theory may quite rationally believe each of a large body of propositions that are jointly inconsistent. For example, an agent may legitimately believe that on each given occasion her well-maintained car will start, but nevertheless believe that she will eventually encounter a..
Abstract: The frame problem is the problem of how we selectively apply relevant knowledge to particular situations in order to generate practical solutions. Some philosophers have thought that the frame problem can be used to rule out, or argue in favor of, a particular theory of belief states. But this is a mistake. Sentential theories of belief are no better or worse off with respect to the frame problem than are alternative theories of belief, most notably, the “map” theory of belief
Abstract: Is a belief that one will succeed necessary for an intention? It is argued that the question has traditionally been badly posed, framed as it is in terms of all-out belief. We need instead to ask about the relation between intention and partial belief. An account of partial belief that is more psychologically realistic than the standard credence account is developed. A notion of partial intention is then developed, standing to all-out intention much as partial belief stands to all-out belief. Various coherence constraints on the notion are explored. It is concluded that the primary relations between intention and belief should be understood as normative and not essential. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Abstract: The hypothesis that belief aims at the truth has been used to explain three features of belief: (1) the fact that correct beliefs are true beliefs, (2) the fact that rational beliefs are supported by the evidence and (3) the fact that we cannot form beliefs
Abstract: Schwitzgebel (2001) — henceforth 'S' — offers three examples in order to convince us that there are situations in which individuals are neither accurately describable as believing that p or failing to so believe, but are rather in 'in-between states of belief'. He then argues that there are no 'Bayesian' or representational strategies for explicating these, and proposes a dispositional account.
I do not have any fundamental objection to the idea that there might be 'in-between states of belief'. What I shall argue, rather, is that: (I) S does not provide a convincing argument that there really are such states; (II) S does not show, as he claims, that 'in-between states of belief' could not be accounted for in terms of degrees of belief; (III) S’s dispositional account of 'in-between states of belief' is more problematic than the 'degree of belief' alternative.
Abstract: This paper describes and defends in detail a novel account of belief, an account inspired by Ryle's dispositional characterization of belief, but emphasizing irreducibly phenomenal and cognitive dispositions as well as behavioral dispositions. Potential externalist and functionalist objections are considered, as well as concerns motivated by the inevitably ceteris paribus nature of the relevant dispositional attributions. It is argued that a dispositional account of belief is particularly well-suited to handle what might be called "in-between" cases of believing - cases in which it is neither quite right to describe a person as having a particular belief nor quite right to describe her as lacking it
Abstract: Believing that p, assuming that p, and imagining that p involve regarding p as true—or, as we shall call it, accepting p. What distinguishes belief from the other modes of acceptance? We claim that conceiving of an attitude as a belief, rather than an assumption or an instance of imagining, entails conceiving of it as an acceptance that is regulated for truth, while also applying to it the standard of being correct if and only if it is true. We argue that the second half of this claim, according to which the concept of belief includes a standard of correctness, is required to explain the fact that the deliberative question whether to believe that p is transparent to the question whether p. This argument raises various questions. Is there such a thing as deliberating whether to believe? Is the transparency of the deliberative question whether to believe that p the same as the transparency of the factual question whether I do believe that p? We will begin by answering these questions and then turn to a series of possible objections to our argument
Abstract: Why, when asking oneself whether to believe that p, must one immediately recognize that this question is settled by, and only by, answering the question whether p is true? Truth is not an optional end for first-personal doxastic deliberation, providing an instrumental or extrinsic reason that an agent may take or leave at will. Otherwise there would be an inferential step between discovering the truth with respect to p and determining whether to believe that p, involving a bridge premise that it is good (in whichever sense of good one likes, moral, prudential, aesthetic, allthings-considered, etc.) to believe the truth with respect to p. But there is no such gap between the two questions within the first-personal deliberative perspective; the question whether to believe that p seems to collapse into the question whether p is true
Abstract: Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss (2009) argue that any truth norm for belief, linking the correctness of believing p with the truth of p, is bound to be uninformative since applying the norm to determine the correctness of a belief as to whether p, would itself require forming such a belief. I argue that this objection conflates the condition under which the norm deems beliefs correct, with the psychological state an agent must be in to apply the norm. I also show that since the truth norm conflicts with other possible norms that clearly are informative, the truth norm must itself be informative.
Abstract: It is often said, metaphorically, that belief "aims" at the truth. This paper proposes a normative interpretation of this metaphor. First, the notion of "epistemic norms" is clarified, and reasons are given for the view that epistemic norms articulate essential features of the beliefs that are subject to them. Then it is argued that all epistemic norms--including those that specify when beliefs count as rational, and when they count as knowledge--are explained by a fundamental norm of correct belief, which requires that, if one considers a proposition at all, one should believe it if and only if it is true
Abstract: Many philosophers hold that a general norm of truth governs the attitude of believing. In a recent and influential discussion, Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi raise a number of serious objections to this view. In this paper, I concede that Bykvist and Hattiangadi's criticisms might be effective against the formulation of the norm of truth that they consider, but suggest that an alternative is available. After outlining that alternative, I argue that it is not vulnerable to objections parallel to those Bykvist and Hattiangadi advance, although it might initially appear to be. In closing, I consider what bearing the preceding discussion has on important questions concerning the natures of believing and of truth