Belief

Edited by Rima Basu (Claremont McKenna College)
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  1. Hope as a Source of Grit.Catherine Rioux - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Psychologists and philosophers have argued that the capacity for perseverance or “grit” depends both on willpower and on a kind of epistemic resilience. But can a form of hopefulness in one’s future success also constitute a source of grit? I argue that substantial practical hopefulness, as a hope to bring about a desired outcome through exercises of one’s agency, can serve as a distinctive ground for the capacity for perseverance. Gritty agents’ “practical hope” is partly constituted by an attention-fuelled, risk-inclined (...)
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  2. Book Review: A. Zimmerman's "Belief: A Pragmatic Picture". [REVIEW]Peter Langland-Hassan - forthcoming - The Philosophical Review.
    Faced with the live, forced, and momentous option of whether to accept some form of theism, William James had the will to believe in God. Moved by similar pragmatic principles, Aaron Zimmerman advises self-professed egalitarians to believe they lack racist beliefs—even in the face of less explicit indices that, for some, point in the opposite direction.
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  3. Hope: Conceptual and Normative Issues.Catherine Rioux - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    Hope is often seen as at once valuable and dangerous: it can fuel our motivation in the face of challenges, but can also distract us from reality and lead us to irrationality. How can we learn to “hope well,” and what does “hoping well” involve? Contemporary philosophers disagree on such normative questions about hope and also on how to define hope as a mental state. This article explores recent philosophical debates surrounding the concept of hope and the norms governing hope. (...)
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  4. The Point of Political Belief.Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.
    An intuitive and widely accepted view is that (a) beliefs aim at truth, (b) many citizens have stable and meaningful political beliefs, and (c) citizens choose to support political candidates or parties on the basis of their political beliefs. We argue that all three claims are false. First, we argue that political beliefs often differ from ordinary world-modelling beliefs because they do not aim at truth. Second, we draw on empirical evidence from political science and psychology to argue that most (...)
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  5. Exploring by Believing.Sara Aronowitz - forthcoming - The Philosophical Review.
    Sometimes, we face choices between actions most likely to lead to valuable outcomes, and actions which put us in a better position to learn. These choices exemplify what is called the exploration/exploitation trade-off. In computer science and psychology, this trade-off has fruitfully been applied to modulating the way agents or systems make choices over time. In this paper, I argue that the trade-off also extends to belief. We can be torn between two ways of believing, one of which is expected (...)
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  6. Beyond Belief: Logic in Multiple Attitudes.Franz Dietrich, Antonios Staras & Robert Sugden - manuscript
    Choice-theoretic and philosophical accounts of rationality and reasoning address a multi-attitude psychology, including beliefs, desires, intentions, etc. By contrast, logicians traditionally focus on beliefs only. Yet there is 'logic' in multiple attitudes. We propose a generalization of the three standard logical requirements on beliefs -- consistency, completeness, and deductive closedness -- towards multiple attitudes. How do these three logical requirements relate to rational requirements, e.g., of transitive preferences or non-akratic intentions? We establish a systematic correspondence: each logical requirement (consistency, completeness, (...)
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  7. Out of Habit.Santiago Amaya - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    This paper argues that habits, just like beliefs, can guide intentional action. To do this, a variety of real-life cases where a person acts habitually but contrary to her beliefs are discussed. The cases serve as dissociations showing that intentional agency is possible without doxastic guidance. The upshot is a model for thinking about the rationality of habitual action and the rationalizing role that habits can play in it. The model highlights the role that our history and institutions play in (...)
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  8. Delusions as Herero-Dynamic Property Clusters.Shelby Clipp - 2020 - ScholarWorks.
    The standard position in psychiatry maintains that delusions are beliefs. However, the features of delusions often diverge from those typically associated with belief. This discrepancy has given rise to what I refer to as the doxastic status debate, which concerns whether delusions are best characterized as “beliefs.” Despite efforts, there has been little progress in settling this debate. I argue that the debate has been stymied because it’s largely a verbal dispute (Chalmers, 2011). I then attempt to advance the debate (...)
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  9. Concepts, Belief, and Perception.Alex Byrne - forthcoming - In C. Demmerling & D. Schröder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays.
    At least in one well-motivated sense of ‘concept’, all perception involves concepts, even perception as practiced by lizards and bees. That is because—the paper argues—all perception involves belief.
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  10. What is Special About De Se Attitudes?Stephan Torre & Clas Weber - forthcoming - In The Routledge Handbook on Linguistic Reference.
    De se attitudes seem to play a special role in action and cognition. This raises a challenge to the traditional way in which mental attitudes have been understood. In this chapter, we review the case for thinking that de se attitudes require special theoretical treatment and discuss various ways in which the traditional theory can be modified to accommodate de se attitudes.
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  11. Weighing Aims in Doxastic Deliberation.C. J. Atkinson - 2019 - Synthese.
    In this paper, I defend teleological theories of belief against the exclusivity objection. I argue that despite the exclusive influence of truth in doxastic deliberation, multiple epistemic aims interact when we consider what to believe. This is apparent when we focus on the processes involved in specific instances (or concrete cases) of doxastic deliberation, such that the propositions under consideration are specified. First, I out- line a general schema for weighing aims. Second, I discuss recent attempts to defend the teleological (...)
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  12. No Hope in the Dark: Problems for Four-Dimensionalism.Jonathan J. Loose - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):31-47.
    Whether or not it is coherent to place hope in a future life beyond the grave has become a central question in the larger debate about whether a materialist view of human persons can accommodate Christian belief. Hud Hudson defends a four-dimensional account of resurrection in order to avoid persistent difficulties experienced by three-dimensionalist animalism. I present two difficulties unique to Hudson’s view. The first problem of counterpart hope is a manifestation of a general weakness of four-dimensional views to accommodate (...)
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  13. The Emotional Impact of Evil: Philosophical Reflections on Existential Problems.Nicholas Colgrove - 2019 - Open Theology 5 (1):125-135.
    In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky illustrates that encounters with evil do not solely impact agents’ beliefs about God (or God’s existence). Evil impacts people on an emotional level as well. Authors like Hasker and van Inwagen sometimes identify the emotional impact of evil with the “existential” problem of evil. For better or worse, the existential version of the problem is often set aside in contemporary philosophical discussions. In this essay, I rely on Robert Roberts’ account of emotions as “concern-based construals” (...)
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  14. What Does Emotion Teach Us About Self-Deception? Affective Neuroscience in Support of Non-Intentionalism.Federico Lauria & Delphine Preissmann - 2018 - Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 13 (2):70-94.
    Intuitively, affect plays an indispensable role in self-deception’s dynamic. Call this view “affectivism.” Investigating affectivism matters, as affectivists argue that this conception favours the non-intentionalist approach to self-deception and offers a unified account of straight and twisted self-deception. However, this line of argument has not been scrutinized in detail, and there are reasons to doubt it. Does affectivism fulfill its promises of non-intentionalism and unity? We argue that it does, as long as affect’s role in self-deception lies in affective filters—that (...)
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  15. Faith.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2014 - In Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy , 3rd edition. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
    A brief article on faith as a psychological attitude.
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  16. Les attitudes russelliennes.Fabien Schang - 2017 - Cahiers de Philosophie de L’Université de Caen 54:149-168.
    Russell prétend qu’un examen des croyances est indispensable pour définir nos raisonnements quotidiens et comprendre ce que les philosophes entendent par la notion de vérité. Cela étant, l’auteur considère qu’une étude de ces croyances n’a aucun rapport avec la logique, laquelle concerne uniquement le vrai et le faux. En d’autres termes, Russell associe croyance et psychologie tout en réservant le domaine de la logique au thème de la proposition, vraie ou fausse par définition. Une certaine théorie de la vérité sous-tend (...)
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  17. Knowledge and Belief in the Letter of Paul the Persian.Said Hayati - 2016 - In Dietmar W. Winkler (ed.), Syrische Studien. LIT Verlag. pp. 63-73.
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  18. From Probabilities to Categorical Beliefs: Going Beyond Toy Models.Igor Douven & Hans Rott - 2018 - Journal of Logic and Computation 28 (6):1099-1124.
    According to the Lockean thesis, a proposition is believed just in case it is highly probable. While this thesis enjoys strong intuitive support, it is known to conflict with seemingly plausible logical constraints on our beliefs. One way out of this conflict is to make probability 1 a requirement for belief, but most have rejected this option for entailing what they see as an untenable skepticism. Recently, two new solutions to the conflict have been proposed that are alleged to be (...)
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  19. Belief and Agency. [REVIEW]Lubomira Radoilska - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):377-380.
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  20. The AGM Theory and Inconsistent Belief Change.Koji Tanaka - 2005 - Logique Et Analyse 48 (189-192):113-150.
    The problem of how to accommodate inconsistencies has attracted quite a number of researchers, in particular, in the area of database theory. The problem is also of concern in the study of belief change. For inconsistent beliefs are ubiquitous. However, comparatively little work has been devoted to discussing the problem in the literature of belief change. In this paper, I examine how adequate the AGM theory is as a logical framework for belief change involving inconsistencies. The technique is to apply (...)
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  21. Hume's Functionalism About Mental Kinds.Jason Zarri - manuscript
    A very common view of Hume’s distinction between impressions and ideas is that it is based on their intrinsic properties; specifically, their force and vivacity. Some interpreters have challenged this,one being David Landy (Landy 2006). He argues that for Hume the difference lies instead in the fact that impressions are not copies of anything, while ideas are copies of impressions. I regard this view as unsatisfactory, not because it is fundamentally mistaken but because (to put it in Humean terms) it (...)
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  22. Belief First.Franz Huber - 2013 - The Reasoner 7 (7):82.
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  23. On the Cognition of States of Affairs.Barry Smith - 1987 - In Kevin Mulligan (ed.), Speech Act and Sachverhalt: Reinach and the Foundations of Realist Phenomenology. Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff. pp. 189-225.
    The theory of speech acts put forward by Adolf Reinach in his "The A Priori Foundations of the Civil Law" of 1913 rests on a systematic account of the ontological structures associated with various different sorts of language use. One of the most original features of Reinach's account lies in hIs demonstration of how the ontological structure of, say, an action of promising or of commanding, may be modified in different ways, yielding different sorts of non-standard instances of the corresponding (...)
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  24. Schellenberg on Propositional Faith.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2013 - Religious Studies (2):181-194.
    This paper assesses J. L. Schellenberg’s account of propositional faith and, in light of that assessment, sketches an alternative that avoids certain objections and coheres better with Schellenberg’s aims.
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  25. How Are Metarepresentations Built and Processed.Manuel Bremer - 2012 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):22-38.
    This paper looks at some aspects of semantic metarepresentation. It is mostly concerned with questions more formal, concerning the representation format in semantic metarepresentations, and the way they are processed. Section 1 distinguishes between metacognition and metarepresentation in a narrow and broad sense. Section 2 reminds the reader of some main areas where metarepresentations have to be used. The main part considers the ways that metarepresentations are built and processed. Section 3 introduces some general ideas how semantic metarepresentations are built (...)
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  26. Changing Direction on Direction of Fit.Alex Gregory - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):603-614.
    In this paper, I show that we should understand the direction of fit of beliefs and desires in normative terms. After rehearsing a standard objection to Michael Smith’s analysis of direction of fit, I raise a similar problem for Lloyd Humberstone’s analysis. I go on to offer my own account, according to which the difference between beliefs and desires is determined by the normative relations such states stand in. I argue that beliefs are states which we have reason to change (...)
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  27. Belief Norms & Blindspots.Thomas Raleigh - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):243-269.
    I defend the thesis that beliefs are constitutively normative from two kinds of objection. After clarifying what a “blindspot” proposition is and the different types of blindspots there can be, I show that the existence of such propositions does not undermine the thesis that beliefs are essentially governed by a negative truth norm. I argue that the “normative variance” exhibited by this norm is not a defect. I also argue that if we accept a distinction between subjective and objective norms (...)
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  28. Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment1.Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.
    This paper compares two alternative explanations of pragmatic encroachment on knowledge (i.e., the claim that whether an agent knows that p can depend on pragmatic factors). After reviewing the evidence for such pragmatic encroachment, we ask how it is best explained, assuming it obtains. Several authors have recently argued that the best explanation is provided by a particular account of belief, which we call pragmatic credal reductivism. On this view, what it is for an agent to believe a proposition is (...)
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  29. Believing For a Reason.John Turri - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):383-397.
    This paper explains what it is to believe something for a reason. My thesis is that you believe something for a reason just in case the reason non-deviantly causes your belief. In the course of arguing for my thesis, I present a new argument that reasons are causes, and offer an informative account of causal non-deviance.
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  30. The Possibility of Practical Reason.J. David Velleman - 1996 - Ethics 106 (4):694-726.
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  31. Capturing Emotional Thoughts: The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.Michael McEachrane - 2009 - In Ylva Gustafsson, Camilla Kronqvist & Michael McEachrane (eds.), Emotions and Understanding: Wittgensteinian Perspectives. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    This chapter examines two premises of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) - that emotions are caused by beliefs and that those beliefs are represented in the mind as words or images. Being a philosophical examination, the chapter also seeks to demonstrate that these two premises essentially are philosophical premises. The chapter begins with a brief methodological suggestion of how to properly evaluate the theory of CBT. From there it works it way from examining the therapeutic practice of capturing the mental representations that (...)
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  32. Is There Reason to Be Theoretically Rational?Andrew Reisner - 2011 - In Andrew Reisner & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press.
    An important advance in normativity research over the last decade is an increased understanding of the distinction, and difference, between normativity and rationality. Normativity concerns or picks out a broad set of concepts that have in common that they are, put loosely, guiding. For example, consider two commonly used normative concepts: that of a normative reason and that of ought. To have a normative reason to perform some action is for there to be something that counts in favour of performing (...)
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  33. How to Be a Teleologist About Epistemic Reasons.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2011 - In Asbjorn Steglich-Petersen & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13--33.
    In this paper I propose a teleological account of epistemic reasons. In recent years, the main challenge for any such account has been to explicate a sense in which epistemic reasons depend on the value of epistemic properties. I argue that while epistemic reasons do not directly depend on the value of epistemic properties, they depend on a different class of reasons which are value based in a direct sense, namely reasons to form beliefs about certain propositions or subject matters. (...)
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  34. Do Beliefs Supervene on Degrees of Confidence.Luc Bovens - 1999 - In Anthonie W. M. Meijers (ed.), Belief, Cognition, and the Will. Tilburg University Press. pp. 6--27.
    I examine the relationship between belief and credences and distinguish between a dogmatic, a Lockean, an agentic, and an abductive notion of belief. I conclude with some thoughts on voluntarism and evidentialism.
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  35. Consistency of Belief.Howard Darmstadter - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (10):301-310.
    A rational man’s beliefs are not logically consistent, and he does not believe all the logical consequences of his beliefs. This is because in any situational context, we only accept certain believed sentences. Within that context, we insist that sentences be logically consistent, and we accept the logical consequences of the other sentences we accept in that context. But such sentences do not have to be consistent with sentences we accept in other contexts, nor will we always accept in that (...)
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  36. Individuating Beliefs.Michael McKinsey - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:303-30.
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  37. The Grammar of Belief.Michael McKinsey - 1998 - In William J. Rapaport & F. Orilia (eds.), Thought, Language, and Ontology, Essays in Memory of Hector-Neri Castaneda. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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  38. Saving Belief From (Internalist) Epistemology.Adam Morton - 2003 - Facta Philosophica 5 (2):277-95.
    I point out that internalist conceptions of belief that have become outmoded in the philosophy of mind are still current in epistemology (or at any rate they were in 2003). I explore the consequences of bringing epistemology up to speed with a more contemporary conception of belief.
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  39. Indexical Reference and the Ontology of Belief.Michael J. Pendlebury - 1982 - South African Journal of Philosophy 1:65-74.
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  40. Propositional Clothing and Belief.Neil Sinclair - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):342-362.
    Moral discourse is propositionally clothed, that is, it exhibits those features – such as the ability of its sentences to intelligibly embed in conditionals and other unasserted contexts – that have been taken by some philosophers to be constitutive of discourses that express propositions. If there is nothing more to a mental state being a belief than it being characteristically expressed by sentences that are propositionally clothed then the version of expressivism which accepts that moral discourse is propositionally clothed (‘quasi-realism’) (...)
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Belief, Misc
  1. How to Believe Faithfully and Firmly?Pavel Butakov - 2020 - Philosophy. Journal of the Higher School of Economics 4 (4):167-184.
    Religious people are expected to believe in their religious creeds faithfully and firmly. How can one acquire such belief? In order to answer that question, I propose a model for all belief-like propositional attitudes. The model differentiates, firstly, between voluntary and involuntary, and, secondly, between categorical and quantitative belief-like attitudes. The whole variety of belief-like attitudes is then reduced into two main groups. The first group combines all voluntary and categorical attitudes, and the second group combines all involuntary and quantitative (...)
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  2. Verdad, creencias y fundacionalismo confiabilista.Miguel Cabrera Machado - 2020 - Revista de Filosofía 77:51-65.
    Las afirmaciones verdaderas reciben su justificación de creencias que tienen al conocimiento como base, por lo que para su formulación y comprensión se necesita asumir una posición fundacionalista. En este artículo se propone un fundacionalismo confiabilista, inspirado en Goldman, aunque con cambios importantes respecto a su teoría. A diferencia de Goldman, considero que no todas las creencias tienen que ser verdaderas, ni toda justificación de las creencias requiere de la verdad. Adicionalmente, las creencias verdaderas, expresadas mediante oraciones asertóricas, estarían fundadas (...)
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  3. Remaking the Modern Mind: William James’s Reconstruction of Rationality.Steven Fesmire - 1998 - Southwest Philosophy Review 14 (2):65-82.
    [Abstract drawn from the development of these ideas in John Dewey and Moral Imagination (2003, ch. 3): To present the pragmatic turn from transcendental reason to engaged intelligence in a way that emphasizes the magnitude of their break from the philosophic tradition while correcting standing prejudices, it is helpful to turn the spotlight on James. This essay sketches several interrelated claims about James's notions of reason and truth: Reason is embodied, evolving, and practical, and as such it is subject to (...)
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  4. Belief’s minimal rationality.Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3263-3282.
    Many of our beliefs behave irrationally: this is hardly news to anyone. Although beliefs’ irrational tendencies need to be taken into account, this paper argues that beliefs necessarily preserve at least a minimal level of rationality. This view offers a plausible picture of what makes belief unique and will help us to set beliefs apart from other cognitive attitudes.
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  5. Belief, Credence and Statistical Evidence.Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):500-527.
    According to the Rational Threshold View, a rational agent believes p if and only if her credence in p is equal to or greater than a certain threshold. One of the most serious challenges for this view is the problem of statistical evidence: statistical evidence is often not sufficient to make an outright belief rational, no matter how probable the target proposition is given such evidence. This indicates that rational belief is not as sensitive to statistical evidence as rational credence. (...)
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  6. Faith, Hope, and Justification.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Paul Silva Jr (eds.), Propositional and Doxastic Justification. New York: Routledge.
    The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is normally applied to belief. The goal of this paper is to apply the distinction to faith and hope. Before doing so, I discuss the nature of faith and hope, and how they contrast with belief—belief has no essential conative component, whereas faith and hope essentially involve the conative. I discuss implications this has for evaluating faith and hope, and apply this to the propositional/doxastic distinction. There are two key upshots. One, bringing in (...)
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  7. (Counter)Factual Want Ascriptions and Conditional Belief.Thomas Grano & Milo Phillips-Brown - manuscript
    What are the truth conditions of want ascriptions? According to a highly influential and fruitful approach, championed by Heim (1992) and von Fintel (1999), the answer is intimately connected to the agent’s beliefs: ⌜S wants p⌝ is true iff within S’s belief set, S prefers the p worlds to the ~p worlds. This approach faces a well-known and as-yet unsolved problem, however: it makes the entirely wrong predictions with what we call '(counter)factual want ascriptions', wherein the agent either believes p (...)
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  8. Dilemmas, Disagreement, and Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - In Scott Stapleford, Kevin McCain & Matthias Steup (eds.), Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, USA: Routledge.
    This paper introduces and motivates a solution to a dilemma from peer disagreement. Following Buchak (forthcoming), I argue that peer disagreement puts us in an epistemic dilemma: there is reason to think that our opinions should both change and not change when we encounter disagreement with our epistemic peers. I argue that we can solve this dilemma by changing our credences, but not our beliefs in response to disagreement. I explain how my view solves the dilemma in question, and then (...)
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  9. Belief, Credence, and Moral Encroachment.Elizabeth Jackson & James Fritz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Radical moral encroachment is the view that belief itself is morally evaluable, and that some moral properties of belief itself make a difference to epistemic rationality. To date, almost all proponents of radical moral encroachment hold to an asymmetry thesis: the moral encroaches on rational belief, but not on rational credence. In this paper, we argue against the asymmetry thesis; we show that, insofar as one accepts the most prominent arguments for radical moral encroachment on belief, one should likewise accept (...)
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  10. The Science of Belief: A Progress Report.Nicolas Porot & Eric Mandelbaum - forthcoming - WIREs Cognitive Science 1.
    The empirical study of belief is emerging at a rapid clip, uniting work from all corners of cognitive science. Reliance on belief in understanding and predicting behavior is widespread. Examples can be found, inter alia, in the placebo, attribution theory, theory of mind, and comparative psychological literatures. Research on belief also provides evidence for robust generalizations, including about how we fix, store, and change our beliefs. Evidence supports the existence of a Spinozan system of belief fixation: one that is automatic (...)
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