• Janus
    5.7k


    You're distorting what I have been saying. I'm not saying animals don't believe, I'm saying that they don't form or hold beliefs. if you can't see the distinction and that it has nothing to do with metacognition, then I can't help you any further.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Can a creature believe without forming and/or holding belief?
  • Banno
    3.3k
    Yes, if a belief is not the sort of thing that one holds.

    Sure, we say we hold to this or that belief. So pull out your belief and hold it up high, apart from your behaviour.

    You are confused by ordinary language.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    ...a belief is not the sort of thing that one holds.Banno

    Fair enough.

    Yeah, I dunno...

    I like ordinary language. Sometimes it doesn't quite have what it takes though. I don't think I'm confused.

    Folk don't mean that we hold belief in the same way that we hold up a placard. Nor do I.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    But I'm curious now...

    What sort of thing is Jack's belief? Is it your statement? That doesn't seem right, does it?
  • Banno
    3.3k
    What sort of thing is Jack's belief?creativesoul

    Again, it's not a thing. That's the point. Reification.
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    I'm not saying animals don't believe, I'm saying that they don't form or hold beliefs.Janus

    Yep. They don’t act on a belief. Their actions simply show they believe. Where we - linguistically, hence metacognitively - can also speak of the belief upon which we might, or might not, act.

    Our observations clearly show us that animals attribute causality. That requires thought and belief. To think that fire caused tremendous discomfort is to believe that touching fire causes pain. It is to draw mental correlations between one's own actions and what followed. It does not require, nor can it, propositional content(unless you want to argue that propositions aren't dependent upon language).creativesoul

    Thought is even more equivocal than belief here.

    Sure, animals can think in some non-linguistically structured fashion. They can be smart and adaptive in their planning and responding.

    But to call this thought, with no further attempt at distinction, is to perpetuate a confusion.

    I would agree that ordinary language doesn’t give us a lot to work with here though. Folk psychology terms do not handle the difference that language makes to cognition very well.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    You have equivocated by referring to a rule as both a rule and your interpretation of a rule.Luke

    It's not likely that I equivocated, when what I was doing was explaining to you the difference between these two ways which the same word is used. To equivocate is to disrespect the different uses, or meanings of a word, in order to produce a false conclusion, as you were doing.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k


    Reification? You're saying that my talk of "holding a belief" conflates the two sides of the abstraction/concrete dichotomy, and you do this while talking in terms of holding belief up in the air for everyone to see?

    How does your misuse of language count as my fallacy?
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Equivocation is changing the meaning of key terms in mid argument. It is a rhetorical bandaid placed upon self-contradiction.
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    equivocal - ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)l - adjective

    - open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous.
    "the equivocal nature of her remarks"

    - (of a person) using ambiguous or evasive language.
    "he has always been equivocal about the meaning of his lyrics"
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Thought is even more equivocal than belief here.apokrisis

    equivocal - ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)l - adjective

    - open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous.
    "the equivocal nature of her remarks"

    - (of a person) using ambiguous or evasive language.
    "he has always been equivocal about the meaning of his lyrics"
    apokrisis

    Ok.

    So, what are you doing here?
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    Using the English language.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    Creative, you asked what sort of thing a belief is. The approach I am examining is, why think of beliefs as things?

    This came from @Sam26 musing about beliefs as both mental states and states of the brain.

    ...two sides of the abstraction/concrete dichotomy,creativesoul

    Again with the dichotomies.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    So what counts as Jack's belief?

    He doesn't form and hold belief.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    The approach I am examining is, why think of beliefs as things?Banno

    People places and things...

    Belief as an entity. A noun. Something to be named.

    Why not?
  • Banno
    3.3k
    It's very unclear to me what you are missing.

    So what counts as Jack's belief?creativesoul

    Whatever we use to reasonably explain his behaviour.

    You seem to think that this somehow makes it my belief, not Jack's...

    That is, I do not understand what it is that you do not understand.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    We use language to explain Jack's behaviour.

    Language does not count as Jack's belief.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Jack's belief is not whatever we use to reasonably explain his behaviour.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    I do not understand what part of all this that you do not understand...
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Jack forms and holds belief, but not in the manner described in the common historical account(JTB) of belief. We all know this to be true. It only follows that there is more than that one process of belief formation. That historical notion of belief involves a metacognitive process that is existentially dependent upon complex written language. What that metacognitive process is focusing upon is not always.

    The historical account is inherently inadequate in it's ability to explain Jack's belief.

    You use the notion of "statements" instead of propositions. Both suffer the same fatal flaw.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    but not in the manner described in the common historical account(JTB) of belief.creativesoul

    JTB is an account of knowledge, not belief.
  • sime
    198
    To attribute a belief to an agent is to explain the agent's actions in terms of folk-psychological ego-centric reasoning from the perspective of agent when the agent can be pragmatically considered to be maximising a utility function.

    We do this all the time, even when describing computers that crash. "It believes the library object is in the wrong folder".

    Unless one is a platonist, explanations of behaviour are no different to descriptions of potential behaviour. Nobody defines beliefs and other mental states in terms of the processing of neurological tokens but purely in terms of the overt potential behaviour that agents display that could be physically instantiated in an infinite number of ways.

    Remember, neuroscientists can only be said to identify brain-states as constituting belief-states if such brain-states directly manifest the behaviour satisfying the definition of the belief. So functionalist ascriptions of belief-states are not in contradiction with logical-behaviourist definitions of belief, and in fact are dependent on them.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    This came from Sam26 musing about beliefs as both mental states and states of the brain.

    ...

    Whatever we use to reasonably explain his behaviour.
    Banno

    States of the brain, mental states, cannot reasonably explain behaviour, because the former is passive and the latter is active. So this belief is lacking in truth.

    Jack forms and holds belief, but not in the manner described in the common historical account(JTB) of belief.creativesoul

    The JTB account of belief requires that the belief be true. I suggest that if you take a good look at the criteria for "true", you will find that it requires what you call "thinking about thought and belief". In its primitive form, truth refers to an internal process, a process of thinking about thought and belief, requiring sincerity and honesty.

    Memory for example is based in repetition, and honesty is imperative to accurate memory. In this process of thinking about thought and belief, we establish an association between the symbol and what is symbolized, which must remain true (not permitting variance). In the case of memory, repetition without variance constitutes "true". Repetition without variance may in some cases be referred to as a state.

    It is very doubtful that Jack has the capacity to hold a true belief, memory without variance. The fact that memories change over time calls into question Jack's ability to "hold" a belief. And holding is essential to maintaining truth. Written language, and other physical markings such as monuments have always served to aid human beings in the endeavours of truth.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    JTP is more apt Banno...

    S knows that P if S is justified in believing P and P is true.

    P is a proposition. S believes a proposition. Statement in your case...
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    To attribute a belief to an agent is to explain the agent's actions...sime

    Attributing a belief to an agent is not necessary for the agent to form and/or hold belief...

    We can be wrong in our attribution.

    A non-linguistic agent cannot have belief that is propositional in content.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Computers do not form and hold belief.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Nobody defines beliefs and other mental states in terms of the processing of neurological tokens but purely in terms of the overt potential behaviour that agents display that could be physically instantiated in an infinite number of ways...sime

    That's part of the problem, although I do not use 'tokens'...
  • Banno
    3.3k
    States of the brain, mental states, cannot reasonably explain behaviour, because the former is passive and the latter is active. So this belief is lacking in truth.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yeah, all good; except that I am not convinced that brain state and mental states correspond, nor are brain states passive.
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