I offer a novel account of the absurdity of Moore-paradoxical assertion in terms of an interlocutor’s fully conscious beliefs. This account starts with an original argument for the principle that fully conscious belief collects over conjunction. The argument is premised on the synchronic unity of consciousness and the transparency of belief.
Many philosophers have sought to account for doxastic and epistemic norms by supposing that belief ‘aims at truth.’ A central challenge for this approach is to articulate a version of the truth-aim that is at once weak enough to be compatible with the many truth-independent influences on belief formation, and strong enough to explain the relevant norms in the desired way. One phenomenon in particular has seemed to require a relatively strong construal of the truth-aim thesis, namely ‘ (...) class='Hi'>transparency’ in doxastic deliberation. In this paper, I argue that the debate over transparency has been in the grip of a false presupposition, namely that the phenomenon must be explained in terms of being a feature of deliberation framed by the concept of belief. Giving up this presupposition makes it possible to adopt weaker and more plausible versions of the truth-aim thesis in accounting for doxastic and epistemic norms. (shrink)
Among recent theories of the nature of self-knowledge, the rationalistic view, according to which self-knowledge is not a cognitive achievement—perceptual or inferential—has been prominent. Upon this kind of view, however, self-knowledge becomes a bit of a mystery. Although the rationalistic conception is defended in this article, it is argued that it has to be supplemented by an account of the transparency of belief: the question whether to believe that P is settled when one asks oneself whether P.
In this paper, I argue that the method of transparency --determining whether I believe that p by considering whether p -- does not explain our privileged access to our own beliefs. Looking outward to determine whether one believes that p leads to the formation of a judgment about whether p, which one can then self-attribute. But use of this process does not constitute genuine privileged access to whether one judges that p. And looking outward will not provide for access (...) to dispositional beliefs, which are arguably more central examples of belief than occurrent judgments. First, one’s dispositional beliefs as to whether p may diverge from the occurrent judgments generated by the method of transparency. Second, even in cases where these are reliably linked — e.g., in which one’s judgment that p derives from one’s dispositional belief that p — using the judgment to self-attribute the dispositional belief requires an ‘inward’ gaze. (shrink)
This paper considers a view according to which there are certain symmetries between the nature of belief and that of intention. I do not defend this Symmetry View in detail, but rather try to adjudicate between different versions of it: what I call Evaluative, Normative and Teleological versions. I argue that the central motivation for the Symmetry View in fact supports only a specific Teleological version of the view.
That truth provides the standard for believing appears to be a platitude, one which dovetails with the idea that in some sense belief aims only at the truth. In recent years, however, an increasing number of prominent philosophers have suggested that knowledge provides the standard for believing, and so that belief aims only at knowledge. In this paper, I examine the considerations which have been put forward in support of this suggestion, considerations relating to lottery beliefs, Moorean beliefs, (...) the criticism and defence of belief, and the value of knowledge. I argue that those considerations do not give us reason to give up the truth view in favour of the knowledge view and, moreover, that reflection on those considerations gives us some reason to reject the knowledge view. Thus, I conclude, we can continue to the take the apparent platitude at face value. (shrink)
William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever (...) we lack sufficient evidence. I will argue, however, that there are wide-scope conditional requirements on beliefs but the beliefs in question need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. I then argue that we are epistemically, but not morally, required to form epistemically valuable beliefs. However, these beliefs, too, need not be beliefs for which we have sufficient evidence. (shrink)
The “ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central question in the debate is whether there are norms of some sort governing our habits of belief formation, belief maintenance, and belief relinquishment. Is it ever or always morally wrong (or epistemically irrational, or imprudent) to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? Is it ever or always morally right (or epistemically rational, or (...) prudent) to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in the perceived absence of it? Is it ever or always obligatory to seek out all available epistemic evidence for a belief? Are there some ways of obtaining evidence that are themselves immoral or imprudent? -/- . (shrink)
William Kingdon Clifford famously argued that "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." His ethics of belief can be construed as involving two distinct theses—a moral claim (that it is wrong to hold beliefs to which one is not entitled) and an epistemological claim (that entitlement is always a function of evidential support). Although I reject the (universality of the) epistemological claim, I argue that something deserving of the name "ethics of (...) class='Hi'>belief" can nevertheless be preserved. However, in the second half of the paper I argue that Clifford's response to the problem of unethical belief is insufficiently attentive to the role played by self-deception in the formation of unethical beliefs. By contrasting the first-person perspective of a doxastic agent with the third-person perspective of an outside observer, I argue that unethical belief is a symptom of deficiencies of character: fix these, and belief will fix itself. I suggest that the moral intuitions implicit in our response to examples of unethical belief (like Clifford's famous example of the ship owner) can better be accounted for in terms of a non-evidentialist virtue ethics of belief-formation, and that such an account can survive the rejection of strong versions of doxastic voluntarism. (shrink)
Educational worries about indoctrination are linked to matters of rationality and of the ethics of belief. These are both threatened by too 'open' approaches to moral education and by too 'closed' approaches to science education. The moral importance of what is involved points to the need to inform the teaching of all disciplines by reflection on their rational foundations.
Any plausible ethics of belief must respect that normal agents are doxastically blameworthy for their beliefs in a range of non-exotic cases. In this paper, we argue, first, that together with independently motivated principles this constraint leads us to reject occurrentism as a general theory of belief. Second, we must acknowledge not only dormant beliefs, but tacit beliefs as well. Third, a plausible ethics of belief leads us to acknowledge that a difference in propositional content cannot in (...) all contexts count as a criterion for belief individuation. In some contexts, we need to individuate beliefs in a different manner, namely in such a way that they have at least part of their causal history essentially. (shrink)
This article deals with two types of Christian faith in the light of the challenges posed by the ethics of belief. It is proposed that the difficulties with Clifford's formulation of that ethic can best be handled if the ethic is interpreted in terms of role-specific intellectual integrity. But the ethic still poses issues for the traditional interpretation of Christian faith when it is conceived as a series of discrete but related propositions, especially historical propositions. For as so conceived, (...) the believer makes claims that fall within the province of an intellectual discipline, history, that requires evidence and rules of procedure for the adjudication of such claims. It is noteworthy how few Christian theologians and philosophers of religion deal with the issue in these terms. Alvin Plantinga is a noteworthy exception and his views are examined and criticized because, among other things, his conclusion is that any believer without having any training in biblical languages or historical studies can know that the New Testament narratives are true. The article then considers a second conception of Christian faith in which this conflict does not arise. One finds it in the works of Schleiermacher, Wittgenstein, and, surprisingly, in the conception of faith found in the early writings of Karl Barth. (shrink)
In "Culture and Value" Wittgenstein remarks that the truly "religious man" thinks himself to be, not merely "imperfect" or "ill," but wholly "wretched." While such sentiments are of obvious biographical interest, in this paper I show why they are also worthy of serious philosophical attention. Although the influence of Wittgenstein's thinking on the philosophy of religion is often judged negatively (as, for example, leading to quietist and/or fideist-relativist conclusions) I argue that the distinctly ethical conception of religion (specifically Christianity) that (...) Wittgenstein presents should lead us to a quite different assessment. In particular, his preoccupation with the categorical nature of religion suggests a conception of "genuine" religious belief which disrupts both the economics of eschatological-salvationist hope, and the traditional ethical precept that "ought implies can." In short, what Wittgenstein presents is a sketch of a religion without recompense. (shrink)
There has been much discussion about whether traditional epistemology's doxastic attitudes are reducible to degrees of belief. In this paper I argue that what I call the Straightforward Reduction - the reduction of all three of believing p, disbelieving p, and suspending judgment about p, ~p to precise degrees of belief for p, ~p that ought to obey the standard axioms of the probability calculus - cannot succeed. By focusing on suspension of judgment (agnosticism) rather than belief, (...) we can see why the Straightforward Reduction is bound to fail. I argue that, in general, suspending about p is not just a matter of having some specified standard credence for p, and in the end I suggest some ways to extend the arguments that will put pressure on other credence-theoretic accounts of belief and suspension of judgment as well. (shrink)
Subjects appear to take only evidential considerations to provide reason or justification for believing. That is to say that subjects do not take practical considerations—the kind of considerations which might speak in favour of or justify an action or decision—to speak in favour of or justify believing. This is puzzling; after all, practical considerations often seem far more important than matters of truth and falsity. In this paper, I suggest that one cannot explain this, as many have tried, merely by (...) appeal to the idea that belief aims only at the truth. I appeal instead to the idea that the aim of belief is to provide only practical reasons which might form the basis on which to act and to make decisions, an aim which is in turn dictated by the aim of action. This, I argue, explains why subjects take only evidential considerations to favour of or justify believing. Surprisingly, then, it turns out that it is practical reason itself which demands that there be no practical reasons for belief. (shrink)
In this paper I evaluate Zamulinski’s recent attempt to rebut an argument to the conclusion that having any kind of religious faith violates a moral duty. I agree with Zamulinski that the argument is unsound, but I disagree on where it goes wrong. I criticize Zamulinski’s alternative construal of Christian faith as existential commitment to fundamental assumptions. It does not follow that we should accept the moral argument against religious faith, for at least two reasons. First, Zamulinski’s Cliffordian ethics of (...)belief is defective in several regards. Second, the truth of doxastic involuntarism and the possibility of doxastic excuse conditions can be used to demonstrate that the argument is unconvincing. (shrink)
This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith ventures’ (...) or ‘overbeliefs’. But our study of James in the first half of the chapter reveals a significant degree of unnoticed unity: The two distinct defenses of faith ventures he develops post-1900 are actually both versions of the Dialogue Model of the relationship between individual religiosity and scientific reasoning. One shared theme in the diverging approaches to doxastic responsibility suggested by the two versions is what some interpreters have called ‘the character issue’ in James’ writings. The second half of the chapter develops these connections and argues that a neo-Jamesian approach tying the ethics of belief with Rawlsian reasonable pluralism and with contemporary character epistemology results in a stronger yet more clearly delimited defense of responsible faith ventures. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the question of whether degrees of belief can figure in reasoning processes that are executed by humans. It is generally accepted that outright beliefs and intentions can be part of reasoning processes, but the role of degrees of belief remains unclear. The literature on subjective Bayesianism, which seems to be the natural place to look for discussions of the role of degrees of belief in reasoning, does not address the question (...) of whether degrees of belief play a role in real agents’ reasoning processes. On the other hand, the philosophical literature on reasoning, which relies much less heavily on idealizing assumptions about reasoners than Bayesianism, is almost exclusively concerned with outright belief. One possible explanation for why no philosopher has yet developed an account of reasoning with degrees of belief is that reasoning with degrees of belief is not possible for humans. In this paper, I will consider three arguments for this claim. I will show why these arguments are flawed, and conclude that, at least as far as these arguments are concerned, it seems like there is no good reason why the topic of reasoning with degrees of belief has received so little attention. (shrink)
What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of (...) evidence alone? Is truth the constitutive norm of belief? Does aiming at truth bring in a normative dimension to the nature of belief? How can the aim of truth guide the formation of our beliefs? In what ways do partial beliefs aim at truth? Is truth the aim of epistemic justification? Last but not least, is it knowledge rather than truth which is the fundamental aim of belief? -/- In recent years, pursuing these questions has proved extremely fertile for our understanding of a wide range of current issues in philosophy of mind and action, epistemology, and meta-ethics. The Aim of Belief is the first book to be devoted to this fast-growing topic. It brings together eleven newly commissioned essays by leading authors on the aim of belief. -/- Contributors: Jonathan Adler, Krister Bykvist, Timothy Chan, Pascal Engel, Kathrin Glüer, Anandi Hattiangadi, Michael Hicks, Paul Horwich, David Papineau, Andrew Reisner, Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Ralph Wedgwood, Åsa Wikforss, Daniel Whiting. (shrink)
Despite amendments to the sexual assault provisions in the Criminal Code, decisions about the availability and operation of the defence of belief in consent remain vulnerable to the influence of legally extraneous considerations. The author proposes an approach designed to limit the influence of such considerations.
Dispositionalist accounts of belief define beliefs in terms of specific sets of dispositions. In this article, I provide a blind-spot argument against these accounts. The core idea of the argument is that beliefs having the form [p and it is not manifestly believed that p] cannot be manifestly believed. This means that one cannot manifest such beliefs in one’s assertions, conscious thoughts, actions, behaviours, or any other type of activity. However, if beliefs are sets of dispositions, they must be (...) manifestable in some way. Therefore, according to my argument, beliefs are not sets of dispositions. The argument is defended against some possible objections. (shrink)
The present paper aims at a synthesis of belief revision theory with the Sneed formalism known as the structuralist theory of science. This synthesis is brought about by a dynamisation of classical structuralism, with an abductive inference rule and base generated revisions in the style of Rott (2001). The formalism of prioritised default logic (PDL) serves as the medium of the synthesis. Why seek to integrate the Sneed formalism into belief revision theory? With the hybrid system of the (...) present investigation, a substantial simplification of the ranking information that is necessary to define revisions and contractions uniquely is achieved. This system is, furthermore, expressive enough to capture complex and non-trivial scientific examples. It is thus closely related to a novel research area within belief revision theory which addresses the dynamics of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
I offer you some theories of intellectual obligations and rights (virtue Ethics): initially, RBT (a Right to Believe Truth, if something is true it follows one has a right to believe it), and, NDSM (one has no right to believe a contradiction, i.e., No right to commit Doxastic Self-Mutilation). Evidence for both below. Anthropology, Psychology, computer software, Sociology, and the neurosciences prove things about human beliefs, and History, Economics, and comparative law can provide evidence of value about theories of rights. (...) However, insofar as we have methods within Philosophy to help us formulate precise concepts of 'belief' and 'rights', methods that also help us to prove links (or absence thereof) amongst families of concepts of rights and belief, our discipline is in and of itself capable of sound reasoning about issues as puzzling as the following. Suppose a Jane who does not believe in God yet who believes she ought to so believe: Jane is undergoing doxastic moral regret (moral regret for lack of faith). We have all known such Janes and perhaps at one time or another even been one. Paradox: given RBT and NDSM, Jane as described not only does not exist, Jane cannot exist. Thus, to enrich the ways in which Philosophy need not get all its evidence from other academic disciplines, I present a brief introduction to what I call Neutral Universal Frames (NUFs). NUFs solve hard puzzles about interactions among modal concepts of belief and rights, concepts that occur in RBT, NDSM and the description of our Janes. NUFs for theories precisely articulated via any two or more modal concepts are a powerful and immensely general set of tools enabling us to define rich theories of truth ("models on frames") to test philosophical theories for internal consistency and to prove the existence of connections (or absence thereof) amongst alternative articulations of philosophical theories. NUFs thereby add to the constructive knowledge producing way Logics intersect with Philosophy of Religion. And we will soon see why Jane, be she named 'Jane' or known simply as you: cannot exist. Read on at your own risk. (shrink)
The paper is a critical examination of the metaethical position taken up recently by Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons, called ‘cognitivist expressivism’. The key component of the position is their insistence that some beliefs are nondescriptive. The paper argues against this thesis in two ways: First by sketching an independently plausible account of belief, on which belief is essentially a certain kind of descriptive representational state; and second by rebutting Horgan and Timmons’ positive arguments in favor of their (...) account. The final section argues that Horgan and Timmons’ view cannot survive abandonment of the thesis that moral beliefs are nondescriptive in character. (shrink)
In this book, Timothy J. Madigan examines the continuing relevance of "The Ethics of Belief" to epistemological and ethical concerns. He places the essay within the historical context, especially the so-called 'Victorian Crisis of Faith' of which Clifford was a key player. Clifford's own life and interests are dealt with as well, along with the responses to his essay by his contemporaries, the most famous of which was William James's "The Will to Believe." Madigan provides an overview of modern-day (...) critics of Cliffordian evidentialism, as well as examining thinkers who were positively influenced by him, including Bertrand Russell, who was perhaps Clifford's most influential successor as an advocate of intellectual honesty. (shrink)
Within AI and the cognitively related disciplines, there exist a multiplicity of uses of belief. On the face of it, these differing uses reflect differing views about the nature of an objective phenomenon called belief. In this paper I distinguish six distinct ways in which belief is used in AI. I shall argue that not all these uses reflect a difference of opinion about an objective feature of reality. Rather, in some cases, the differing uses reflect differing (...) concerns with special AI applications. In other cases, however, genuine differences exist about the nature of what we pre-theoretically call belief. To an extent the multiplicity of opinions about, and uses of belief, echoes the discrepant motivations of AI researchers. The relevance of this discussion for cognitive scientists and philosophers arises from the fact that (a) many regard theoretical research within AI as a branch of cognitive science, and (b) even if theoretical AI is not cognitive science, trends within AI influence theories developed within cognitive science. It should be beneficial, therefore, to unravel the distinct uses and motivations surrounding belief, in order to discover which usages merely reflect differing pragmatic concerns, and which usages genuinely reflect divergent views about reality. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book develops further his pioneering work in formal epistemology, focusing on the problem of belief contraction, or how rationally to relinquish old beliefs. Levi offers the most penetrating analysis to date of this key question in epistemology, offering a completely new solution and explaining its relation to his earlier proposals. He mounts an argument in favor of the thesis that contracting a state of belief by giving up specific beliefs is to be evaluated in terms (...) of the value of the information lost by doing so. The rationale aims to be thoroughly decision theoretic. Levi spells out his goals and shows that certain types of recommendations are obtained if one seeks to promote these goals. He compares his approach to his earlier account of inductive expansion. The recommendations are for "mild contractions." These are formally the same as the "severe withdrawals" considered by Pagnucco and Rott. The rationale, however, is different. A critical part of the book concerns the elaboration of these differences. The results are relevant to accounts of the conditions under which it is legitimate to cease believing and to accounts of conditionals. Mild Contraction will be of great interest to all specialists in belief revision theory and to many students of formal epistemology, philosophy of science, and pragmatism. (shrink)
The availability of the defence of belief in consent under section 265(4) is a question of law, subject to review on appeal. The statutory provision is based on the common law rule that applies to all defences. Consideration of the defence when it is unavailable in law and failure to consider it when it is available are both incorrect. A judge is most likely to avoid error when ruling on availability of the defence if the ruling: (1) is grounded (...) on sound analysis of the substantive basis for the defence and its relationship to the principles of criminal responsibility; and (2) uses precise legal criteria to govern practical application of section 265(4) to the evidence in specific cases. The guidelines proposed in Part I are based on analyses of the substantive defence and culpable awareness and were developed to ensure that appropriate criteria are properly used when section 265(4) is applied. When a trial judge rules that the defence is available in law, the trier of fact must determine whether the defence is available on the facts as found, based on the evidence in the case. The model jury instructions proposed in Part II are designed to ensure that deliberations by the trier of fact are also guided and shaped by appropriate legal criteria. At both stages, the objective is to ground the deliberation process on fact, not fiction, and to regulate the exculpatory effect of the defence by using legal norms to exclude excuses based on extra-legal considerations such as sexual/racial fantasy, stereotype and myth, or community attitudes and custom. (shrink)
Truth and the aim of belief -- Belief, interpretation, and Moore's paradox -- Belief, sensitivity, and safety -- Basic beliefs and the problem of non-doxastic justification -- Experience as reason for beliefs -- The problem of the basing relation -- Basic beliefs, easy knowledge, and the problem of warrant transfer -- Belief, justification, and fallibility -- Knowledge of our beliefs and privileged access.
Those working within the tradition of Humean psychology tend to mark a clear distinction between beliefs and desires. One prominent way of elucidating this distinction is to describe them as having different “directions of fit” with respect to the world. After first giving a brief overview of the various attempts to carry out this strategy along with their flaws, I argue that the direction of fit metaphor is misleading and ought to be abandoned. It fails to take into account the (...) actual complexity of the roles played by belief and desire and forces us to look for a single, fundamental contrast between these two that is unlikely to be found. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book is concerned with how one can justify changing one's beliefs. The discussion is deeply informed by the belief-doubt model advocated by C. S. Peirce and John Dewey, of which the book provides a substantial analysis. Professor Levi then addresses the conceptual framework of potential changes available to an inquirer. A structural approach to propositional attitudes is proposed which rejects the conventional view that a propositional attitude involves a relation between an agent and either a linguistic (...) entity or some other intentional object such as a proposition or set of possible worlds. The last two chapters offer an account of change in states of full belief understood as changes in commitments rather than changes in performance; one chapter deals with adding new information to a belief state, the other with giving up information. The book builds upon topics discussed in some of Levi's earlier work. It will be of particular interest to discussion theorists, epistemologists, philosophers of science, computer scientists, and cognitive psychologists. (shrink)
Our main aim is to discuss the topic of scientific controversies in the context of a recent issue that has been the centre of attention of many epistemologists though not of argumentation theorists or philosophers of science, namely the ethics of belief in face of rational disagreement. We think that the consideration of scientific examples may be of help in the epistemological debate on rational disagreement, making clear some of the deficiencies of the discussion as it has been produced (...) until now. Another central claim of our paper is that the common view according to which beliefs (and changes of beliefs) may exhibit and commonly exhibit a deontic status can be clarified in the light of Brandom’s approach to normative pragmatics and the pragmatic theories of argumentation that also have a normative character (here our example is van Eemeren’s pragma-dialectics). Our article highlights the similarities between both projects, similarities that to our knowledge were not noticed before. Finally, an important point of the article is that we need to take contextual elements into account in order to develop an adequate theory of disagreement. (shrink)
Does transparency in doxastic deliberation entail a constitutive norm of correctness governing belief, as Shah and Velleman argue? No, because this presupposes an implausibly strong relation between normative judgements and motivation from such judgements, ignores our interest in truth, and cannot explain why we pay different attention to how much justification we have for our beliefs in different contexts. An alternative account of transparency is available: transparency can be explained by the aim one necessarily adopts in (...) deliberating about whether to believe that p. To show this, I reconsider the role of the concept of belief in doxastic deliberation, and I defuse 'the teleologian's dilemma'. (shrink)
In recent years several approaches—philosophical, sociological, psychological—have been developed to come to grips with our profoundly technologically mediated world. However, notwithstanding the vast merit of each, they illuminate only certain aspects of technological mediation. This paper is a preliminary attempt at a philosophical reflection on technological mediation as such—deploying the concepts of ‘transparency’ and ‘opacity’ as heuristic instruments. Hence, we locate a ‘theory of transparency’ within several theoretical frameworks—respectively classic phenomenology, media theory, Actor Network Theory, postphenomenology, several ethnographical, (...) psychological, and sociological perspectives, and finally, the Critical Theory of Technology. Subsequently, we render a general, systematic overview of these theories, thereby conjecturing what a broad analysis of technological mediation in and of itself might look like—finding, at last, an essential contradiction between transparency of ‘use’ and transparency of social origins and effects. (shrink)
False belief tasks have enjoyed a monopoly in the research on children’s development of a theory of mind. They have been granted this status because they promise to deliver an unambiguous assessment of children’s understanding of the representational nature of mental states. Their poor cousins, true belief tasks, have been relegated to occasional service as control tasks. That this is their only role has been due to the universal assumption that correct answers on true belief tasks are (...) inherently ambiguous regarding the level of the child’s understanding of mental states. It has also been due to the universal assumption that nothing in the child’s developing theory of mind would lead to systematically incorrect answers on true belief tasks. We review new findings that 4- and 5-year-olds do err, systematically and profoundly, on the true belief versions of all the extant belief tasks. This reveals an intermediate level of understanding in the development of children’s theory of mind. Researchers have been unaware of this intermediate level because it produces correct answers in false belief tasks. A simple two-task battery—one true belief task and one false belief task—is sufficient to remove the ambiguity from each task. The new findings show that children do not acquire an understanding of beliefs, and hence a representational theory of mind, until after 6 years of age, or 2 years later than most developmental psychologists have concluded. This raises the question of how to interpret other new findings that infants are able to pass false belief tasks. We review these new infant studies, as well as recent studies on chimpanzees, in light of older children’s failure on true belief tasks, and end with some speculation about how all of these new findings might be reconciled. (shrink)
I investigate the way in which our conscious judgments can be a guide to our beliefs, a topic discussed by Gareth Evans, Richard Moran, Christopher Peacocke, and Alex Byrne, among others. I argue that our conscious judgments can give us a kind of justification to self-ascribe beliefs which is (i) distinctively first-personal, (ii) non-inferential, and (iii) fallible. I then defend my view from a challenge from "constitutivist" views in the epistemology of introspection, defended by philosophers such as Sydney Shoemaker, according (...) to which only our beliefs themselves give us justification to self-ascribe beliefs. (shrink)
Transparency is a crucial condition to implement a CSR policy based on the reputation mechanism. The central question of this contribution is how a transparency policy ought to be organised in order to enhance the CSR behaviour of companies. Governments endorsing CSR as a new means of governance have different strategies to foster CSR transparency. In this paper we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of two conventional policy strategies: the facilitation policy and the command and control strategy. (...) Using three criteria (efficiency, freedom and virtue) we conclude that both strategies are defective. Most attention is paid to the facilitation strategy since governments nowadays mainly use this. In evaluating this strategy we analyse the Dutch case. As an alternative we introduce a third government policy: the development of a self-regulating sub-system. By construing an analogy with the historical development of corporate financial disclosure, we point out that the vital step in the creation of a self-regulating subsys- tem is the creation of strong informational intermediate organisations. (shrink)
This paper argues that Donald Davidson''s account ofassertions of evaluative judgments contains ahere-to-fore unappreciated strategy forreconciling the meta-ethical ``inconsistenttriad.'''' The inconsistency is thought to resultbecause within the framework of thebelief-desire theory assertions of moraljudgments must have conceptual connections withboth desires and beliefs. The connection withdesires is necessary to account for theinternal connection between such judgments andmotivation to act, while the connection withbeliefs is necessary to account for theapparent objectivity of such judgments.Arguments abound that no class of utterancescan coherently be understood (...) as having suchconceptual connections to attitudes of bothsorts, hence that an inconsistency results. Buton Davidson''s account assertions of evaluativejudgments have just such connections to boththe relevant desire and a belief concerning anevaluative matter of fact. I argue that thisaccount has the resources to respond tostandard objections, and at least meritsconsideration as one among other plausiblealternatives. (shrink)
Transparency in business and society is one of the challenges raised in the encyclical Caritas in Veritate by Benedict XVI. This paper focuses on the issue by extending the literature on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and corporate transparency in two dimensions. First, it reviews the understanding and framing of the transparency issue in Caritas in Veritate and in a selection of relevant Catholic Social Teaching (CST) publications. Second, this paper provides normative indications for corporate transparency (...) decisions which reflect four permanent principles of CST, that is, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and respect for the human being. Inasmuch as human beings are worthy of love for their own sakes, the dimension of gift should always be present in relationships among them. This paper also provides insights for further studies on corporate transparency and the impact of religion on business ethics and corporate social responsibility. (shrink)
Developing trust in a company is a significant part of building the company-consumer relationship. Previous studies have sought to identify the positive consequences of trust such as loyalty and repurchase, but the question of what builds trust remains largely unanswered. To answer the question, we developed a model that depicts the relationships among transparency, social responsibility, trust, attitude, word-of-mouth (WOM) intention, and purchase intention. An online survey was conducted with a US nationwide sample of 303 consumers, and the data (...) were analyzed using the structural equation modeling method. The results indicated that consumers’ perceptions of a corporation’s efforts to be transparent in the production and labor conditions and to be socially responsible by giving back to the local community directly affected these consumers’ trust and attitudes toward the corporation, and indirectly affected their intentions to purchase from and spread positive WOM about the corporation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (shrink)
This paper offers an epistemological discussion of self-validating belief systems and the recurrence of ?epistemic defense mechanisms? and ?immunizing strategies? across widely different domains of knowledge. We challenge the idea that typical ?weird? belief systems are inherently fragile, and we argue that, instead, they exhibit a surprising degree of resilience in the face of adverse evidence and criticism. Borrowing from the psychological research on belief perseverance, rationalization and motivated reasoning, we argue that the human mind is particularly (...) susceptible to belief systems that are structurally self-validating. On this cognitive-psychological basis, we construct an epidemiology of beliefs, arguing that the apparent convenience of escape clauses and other defensive ?tactics? used by believers may well derive not from conscious deliberation on their part, but from more subtle mechanisms of cultural selection. (shrink)
I. Levi has advocated a decision-theoretic account of belief revision. We argue that the game-theoretic framework of Interrogative Inquiry Games , proposed by J. Hintikka, can extend and clarify this account. We show that some strategic use of the game rules (or ‘policies’) generate Expansions , Contractions and Revisions , and we give representation results. We then extend the framework to represent explicitly (multiple) sources of answers , and apply it to discuss the Recovery Postulate. We conclude with (...) some remarks about the potential extensions of interrogative games, with respect to some issues in the theory of belief change. (shrink)
A novel explanation of belief bias in relational reasoning is presented based on the role of working memory and retrieval in deductive reasoning, and the influence of prior knowledge on this process. It is proposed that belief bias is caused by the believability of a conclusion in working memory which influences its activation level, determining its likelihood of retrieval and therefore its effect on the reasoning process. This theory explores two main influences of belief on the activation (...) levels of these conclusions. First, believable conclusions have higher activation levels and so are more likely to be recalled during the evaluation of reasoning problems than unbelievable conclusions, and therefore, they have a greater influence on the reasoning process. Secondly, prior beliefs about the conclusion have a base level of activation and may be retrieved when logically irrelevant, influencing the evaluation of the problem. The theory of activation and memory is derived from the Atomic Components of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) cognitive architecture and so this account is formalized in an ACT-R cognitive model. Two experiments were conducted to test predictions of this model. Experiment 1 tested strength of belief and Experiment 2 tested the impact of a concurrent working memory load. Both of these manipulations increased the main effect of belief overall and in particular raised belief-based responding in indeterminately invalid problems. These effects support the idea that the activation level of conclusions formed during reasoning influences belief bias. This theory adds to current explanations of belief bias by providing a detailed specification of the role of working memory and how it is influenced by prior knowledge. (shrink)
This work explores the conceptual and empirical issues of the concept of knowledge and its relation to the pattern of our belief change, from formal and experimental perspectives. Part I gives an analysis of knowledge (called Sustainability) that is formally represented and naturalistically plausible at the same time, which is claimed to be a synthesized view of knowledge, covering not only empirical knowledge, but also knowledge of future, practical knowledge, mathematical knowledge, knowledge of general facts. Part II tries to (...) formalize the natural pattern of belief change assumed in Sustainability in terms of a specific formal theory of belief change, after carefully examining the notions of belief, belief change, and Information, from which the cognitive function F in Chapter 3 is actually constructed, which is later implemented by a computer program and its behavior against random input is demonstrated. In Part III we proceed to examine the analysis empirically. In particular, we will investigate Sustainability from the developmental point of view. We first justify experimental approach in philosophy as a legitimate method of philosophical investigation, and then developmental approach in particular. The specific proposal of experiment here is what we call the Gettier Task, an analogue of the famous false-belief task in developmental psychology, which has been much discussed in philosophy of mind. Two versions of the Gettier Task were tested on children aged from 6 to 12, and we claim that the data obtained empirically supports our analysis of knowledge, or Sustainability. (shrink)
Describes the outlines of a computational explication of the belief–desire theory of emotion, a variant of cognitive emotion theory. According to the proposed explication, a core subset of emotions including surprise are nonconceptual products of hardwired mechanisms whose primary function is to subserve the monitoring and updating of the central representational system of humans, the belief–desire system. The posited emotion-producing mechanisms are analogous to sensory transducers; however, instead of sensing the world, they sense the state of the (...) class='Hi'>belief–desire system and signal important changes in this system, in particular the fulfillment and frustration of desires and the confirmation and disconfirmation of beliefs. Because emotions represent this information about the state of the representational system in a nonconceptual format, emotions are nonconceptual metarepresentations. It is argued that this theory of emotions provides for a deepened understanding of the role of emotions in cognitive systems and solves several problems of psychological emotion theory. (shrink)