Authors
Lajos L. Brons
Lakeland University
Abstract
In “Real Patterns” Daniel Dennett developed an argument about the reality of beliefs on the basis of an analogy with patterns and noise. Here I develop Dennett’s analogy into an argument for descriptivism, the view that belief reports do no specify belief contents but merely describe what someone believes, and show that this view is also supported by empirical evidence. No description can do justice to the richness and specificity or “noisiness” of what someone believes, and the same belief can be described by different sentences or propositions (which is illustrated by Dennett’s analogy, some Gettier cases, and Frege’s puzzle), but in some contexts some of these competing descriptions are misleading or even false. Faithful (or truthful) description must be guided by a principle (or principles) related to the principle of charity: belief descriptions should not attribute irrationality to the believer or have other kinds of “deviant” implications.
Keywords belief reports  beliefs  Frege's puzzle  mental content  charity  propositional attitudes
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DOI 10.5007/1808-1711.2019v23n1p19
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.
Zettel.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1967 - Berkeley and Los Angeles: Blackwell.

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