The computational account of belief

Erkenntnis 40 (2):137-53 (1994)
Fodor and others who think that scientific, computational psychology will vindicate commonsense belief-desire psychology have maintained that belief can be identified with the explicit storage of a token with appropriate content. I review and develop problems for the explicit storage view and show that a more plausible account identifies belief with the disposition to use a token with appropriate content in explicit reasoning and planning processes and as a basis for action. I argue that this type of inner disposition account will also apply to most other common sense attitudes. The result is a realism about commonsense belief-desire psychology that is more modest than Fodor's: While such inner dispositions probably do exist, these states will probably not be the main focus of scientific psychological theories
Keywords Belief  Computation  Epistemology  Psychology
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