Does "think" mean the same thing as "believe"? Insights into Religious Cognition

Authors
Neil Van Leeuwen
Georgia State University
Casey Landers
Texas Tech University
Abstract
When someone says she believes that God exists, is she expressing the same kind of mental state as when she says she thinks that a lake bigger than Lake Michigan exists⎯i.e., does she refer to the same kind of cognitive attitude in both cases? Using evidence from linguistic corpora (Study 1) and behavioral experiments (Studies 2-4), the current work provides evidence that individuals typically use the word “believe” more in conjunction with statements about religious credences and “think” more in conjunction with factual statements, pointing to two different understandings of claims made with these two terms. These patterns do not appear to reflect low-level differences based on the amount of consensus surrounding a particular claim, the extent to which the truth of a particular claim is known to the participant, or linguistic differences between religious and factual statements. We discuss implications of these findings for religious cognition (e.g., as supporting the theory that religious credences are qualitatively distinct from factual beliefs) as well as cognitive processes more broadly. Finally, we relate the present findings to prior theoretical work on differences between factual belief and religious credence.
Keywords belief  cognitive science of religion  credence  epistemology  religious cognition  factual belief  religious credence  cognitive attitudes
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Factual Belief Fallacy.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2018 - Contemporary Pragmatism (eds. T. Coleman & J. Jong):319-343.
Can Religious and Secular Belief Be Rationally Combined?Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 82 (3):299-319.
Does Cognitive Science of Religion Undermine Religious Belief?Rezkalla Paul - 2015 - Filosofiâ I Kosmologiâ 14 (1):214-220.
Faith, Probability and Infinite Passion.Robert C. Koons - 1993 - Faith and Philosophy 10 (2):145-160.
Una proposta per la caratterizzazione della credenza religiosa.Daniele Bertini - 2014 - Dialegesthai. Rivista Telematica di Filosofia 16.
Do Religious “Beliefs” Respond to Evidence?Neil Van Leeuwen - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):52-72.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-10-05

Total downloads
63 ( #102,010 of 2,287,560 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
63 ( #5,577 of 2,287,560 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature