Beliefs as inner causes: the (lack of) evidence

Philosophical Psychology 31 (6):850-877 (2018)
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Many psychologists studying lay belief attribution and behavior explanation cite Donald Davidson in support of their assumption that people construe beliefs as inner causes. But Davidson’s influential argument is unsound; there are no objective grounds for the intuition that the folk construe beliefs as inner causes that produce behavior. Indeed, recent experimental work by Ian Apperly, Bertram Malle, Henry Wellman, and Tania Lombrozo provides an empirical framework that accords well with Gilbert Ryle’s alternative thesis that the folk construe beliefs as patterns of living that contextualize behavior.

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Devin Sanchez Curry
West Virginia University


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