The Anti-Naturalism of Some Language Centered Accounts of Belief
Marcus (Ruth Barcan)
Source: Dialectica, Vol. 49, No. 2/4 (1995), pp. 113-129
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Author’s Summary

  1. Common sense explanations of human action are often framed in terms of an agents’ beliefs and desires. Recent widely received views also take believing and desiring (as well wishing, intending and even thinking) as attitudes of an agent to linguistic or quasi-linguistic entities.
  2. It is here claimed that such a narrow view of cognitive attitudes is not supportable, since even among linguals non-verbal responses are often overriding evidence for belief and desire, even where they run counter to sincere verbal assents.
  3. The view is also curiously non naturalistic in that it disallows ascribing beliefs and desires altogether to non-linguals and pre-linguals.
  4. In the present paper a "common sense" explanation of action in accordance with the triad is seen as a useful phenomenological "theory" provided that language centrality is not taken as essential.

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