Can beliefs correspond to reality?

Journal of Philosophy 71 (10):302-314 (1974)
There is no reasonable sense in which beliefs can correspond to reality. Correspondence would seem to require some function that maps beliefs onto states of the world. Such a mapping must satisfy certain conditions, the most important of which is that it be an isomorphism—that is, there will be certain relations among beliefs that must be mapped into corresponding relations among world-states. But for any mapping that satisfies these conditions and any belief B, where B is mapped into world-state W, one can construct another mapping that satisfies the conditions but that maps B into a different world-state W*. The view that beliefs correspond to reality assumes that we have some direct awareness of both beliefs and world states that will make us aware of certain “natural” ways in which beliefs correspond to world states. We could then reject those mappings that, while they satisfy the conditions, are not “natural.” But we cannot have this direct awareness, and without such an awareness we can not specify a reasonable sense in which there could be a “natural” mapping between beliefs and reality. A similar, more limited, argument by Bishop Berkeley is examined.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  correspondence theory  beliefs and reality  Berkeley
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.2307/2024739
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PhilPapers Archive Howard Darmstadter, Can beliefs correspond to reality?
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