The Anti-Naturalism of Some Language Centered Accounts of Belief

Dialectica 49 (2-4):113-30 (1995)

Common sense explanations of human action are often framed in terms of an agent's beliefs and desires. Recent widely received views also take believing and desiring as attitudes of an agent to linguistic or quasi‐linguistic entities. It is here claimed that such a narrow view of cognitive attitudes is not supportable, since even among lingual non‐verbal responses are often overriding evidence for belief and desire, even where they run counter to sincere verbal assents. The view is also curiously non naturalistic in that it disallows ascribing beliefs and desires altogether to non‐lingual and pre‐lingual. In the present paper a “common sense” explanation of action in accordance with the triad Desire, Belief, Action, is seen as a useful phenomenological “theory” provided that language centrality is not taken as essential
Keywords Action  Animal  Belief  Folk Psychology  Metaphysics  Naturalism
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DOI 10.1111/dltc.1995.49.issue-2-4
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