Some Revisionary Proposals about Belief and Believing
Marcus (Ruth Barcan)
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50, Supplement, Autumn, 1990, pp. 133-153
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Philosophers Index Abstract

    A departure is proposed from those language oriented accounts of "x believes that P" where P is taken as a sentence (e.g., Davidson, J Fodor) or a quasi-linguistic proposition (e.g., Frege et al.). Believing is here viewed as relating an agent and an actual or non-actual state-of-affairs, P, where under local internal and external circumstances an agent is disposed to act as if P obtains. Although speech acts such as first person belief reports are often markers of believing, they are shown to be neither necessary nor sufficient conditions. The position therefore accommodates beliefs of non-language users. A further revisionary proposal recommends that belief avowals should be retroactively revised where P is impossible, analogous to retroactive revising of knowledge avowals where P does not obtain.

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