Patterns, Noise, and Beliefs

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In “Real Patterns” Daniel Dennett developed an argument about the reality of beliefs on the basis of an analogy with patterns and noise. Here I develop Dennett’s analogy into an argument for descriptivism, the view that belief reports do no specify belief contents but merely describe what someone believes, and show that this view is also supported by empirical evidence. No description can do justice to the richness and specificity or “noisiness” of what someone believes, and the same belief can be described by different sentences or propositions (which is illustrated by Dennett’s analogy, some Gettier cases, and Frege’s puzzle), but in some contexts some of these competing descriptions are misleading or even false. Faithful (or truthful) description must be guided by a principle (or principles) related to the principle of charity: belief descriptions should not attribute irrationality to the believer or have other kinds of “deviant” implications.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2019-08-27
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Word and Object.Quine, Willard Van Orman
Brainstorms.Dennett, Daniel C.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
61 ( #33,861 of 43,733 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
61 ( #11,114 of 43,733 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.