Beliefs and sentences in the head

Synthese 2 (May):201-30 (1989)
It is argued thatde dicto andde re beliefs are attitudes towards syntactically structured entities (sentences) in the head. In order to identify the content of ade dicto orde re belief, we must be able to match causal relations of belief states to natural language inferences. Such match-ups provide sufficient empirical justification for regarding those causal relations as syntactic transformations, that is, inferences. But only syntactically structured entities are capable of enjoying such inferential relations. Hence,de dicto andde re beliefs must be syntactically structured. Given that beliefs are also brain states, it follows that they are sentences in the brain. The argument presented here is shown to be an improvement over similar arguments advanced by Harman and Fodor
Keywords Belief  Causal Explanation  Inference  Language  Sentence
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DOI 10.1007/BF00869624
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References found in this work BETA
Gilbert Harman (1973). Thought. Princeton University Press.
Robert Stalnaker (1987). Semantics for Belief. Philosophical Topics 15 (1):177-190.

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