Belief-that and Belief-in: Which Reductive Analysis?

In Alex Gzrankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 192-213 (2018)
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Abstract

Let propositionalism be the thesis that all mental attitudes are propositional. Anti-propositionalists typically point at apparently non-propositional attitudes, such as fearing a dog and loving a spouse, and play defense against attempts at propositional analysis of such attitudes. Here I explore the anti-propositionalist’s prospects for going on the offensive, trying to show that some apparently propositional attitudes, notably belief and judgment, can be given non-propositional analysis. Although the notion that belief is a non-propositional attitude may seem ludicrous at first, it is admirably defended by Franz Brentano, whose analysis I propose to expound, update, and deepen here. The basic strategy can be thought of as follows. First, although the grammar of belief-that reports clearly suggests a propositional attitude, the grammar of belief-in reports suggests instead an ‘objectual’ attitude. Second, with some ingenuity all belief-that reports can be paraphrased into belief-in reports. Third, given certain general considerations, this paraphraseability recommends the view that the psychological reality of belief states is objectual rather than propositional. Nonetheless, I will argue, there are two very real costs associated with this non-propositional analysis of belie.

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Uriah Kriegel
Rice University

Citations of this work

The Two Faces of Mental Imagery.Margherita Arcangeli - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):304-322.
Suppose We Know Things.Matt Duncan - 2023 - Episteme 20 (2):308-323.

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The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
The nature and structure of content.Jeffrey C. King - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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