Does "think" mean the same thing as "believe"? Insights into Religious Cognition

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
When someone says she believes that God exists, is she expressing the same kind of mental state as when she says she thinks that a lake bigger than Lake Michigan exists⎯i.e., does she refer to the same kind of cognitive attitude in both cases? Using evidence from linguistic corpora (Study 1) and behavioral experiments (Studies 2-4), the current work provides evidence that individuals typically use the word “believe” more in conjunction with statements about religious credences and “think” more in conjunction with factual statements, pointing to two different understandings of claims made with these two terms. These patterns do not appear to reflect low-level differences based on the amount of consensus surrounding a particular claim, the extent to which the truth of a particular claim is known to the participant, or linguistic differences between religious and factual statements. We discuss implications of these findings for religious cognition (e.g., as supporting the theory that religious credences are qualitatively distinct from factual beliefs) as well as cognitive processes more broadly. Finally, we relate the present findings to prior theoretical work on differences between factual belief and religious credence.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
HEIDQM
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-10-05
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2018-10-05

Total downloads
45 ( #26,740 of 34,954 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #7,128 of 34,954 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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