• Srap Tasmaner
    1.9k
    I don't think it is "he knows" that is implied by "the keys could be in the kitchen" but "he thinks".Janus

    We agree. I'm just making life difficult for Banno.
  • Janus
    5.4k


    Why not, eh? :grin:
  • Banno
    2.9k
    I'm just making life difficult for Banno.Srap Tasmaner
    That's what this thread is for.
  • Banno
    2.9k
    SO I am a bit lost here. The comment that appears to be causing the fuss was:
    The notion I am playing with is that we get the order of the explanation wrong.

    It's not:
    Pat believes the keys are in the Kitchen
    So, all things being equal, Pat will search in the kitchen

    but

    Pat searched in the kitchen
    Therefore Pat says he believes the keys are in the kitchen
    Banno

    The idea is that a belief is not an individual, not a thing, so much as a series of actions, spoken about in a certain way.

    We play accounts in which we set up a belief as a cause for our actions, only to find that the belief consists in those actions. Beliefs are not set pieces, mental objects, that cause our actions; instead they are a way of inferring coherence in our actions.

    Hence one does not find out what one believes by mere introspection.
  • apokrisis
    4.1k
    The idea is that a belief is not an individual, not a thing, so much as a series of actions, spoken about in a certain way.Banno

    So before beliefs are spoken as propositions, do they not exist in any fashion? Do we just find ourselves suddenly blurting out words with no inkling we had meant to say something roughly of that kind?

    And worse yet, do we always act without thought in general, then merely back-fill with a justificatory narrative?

    What a curious understanding of human psychology. It is almost as if 1950s Behaviourism was still all the rage.
  • Banno
    2.9k
    Internalise or externalism? Introspection or action?

    Internalism holds that the content of the belief is irrelevant; that the cat's being on the mat makes no difference to one's belief that the cat is on the mat. After all, one can hold false beliefs. On the other hand one ought believe only what is true; belief in cats on mats must after all somehow take account of cats on mats.

    One's actions might be at odds with one's introspections.

    So which is the real belief, the one reached by introspection or the one deduced from action?

    Neither: there is no real belief...
  • creativesoul
    2.6k
    Here is a fact: the cat is on the mat.

    Here is a statement of that fact: "The cat is on the mat".

    There is a fact that is named in the statement of that fact. Hence the quote marks.

    @creativesoul believes that the cat is on the mat.

    Or is it:

    @creativesoul believes that "the cat is on the mat"?

    Is the belief a thing that has the name "the cat is on the mat"?
    Banno

    It is worth noting that we work from different notions of fact.

    To directly answer the question...

    If I were to render "the cat is on the mat" as the name for a thing, it would be a statement. If I believe there is a cat on the mat, then "the cat is on the mat" would be a statement I believe to be true. If I uttered "the cat is on the mat", and I believed that there was a cat on the mat at the time I spoke, then it would be a statement of my belief, or a belief statement. This would be in the context of normal everyday parlance, as compared contrasted with thinking about our own thought and belief. With that in the forefront of thought...

    If I were involved in a discussion, such as this one, then I would be engaged in a metacognitive endeavor. That is, I would be isolating and thinking about my own thought and belief. During these situations, I would be accounting for and/or reporting my belief to another. I mean, that is the purpose of these kinds of talks, as compared to just everyday parlance.

    If Pat stated that he believed the keys were in the kitchen, solely as a means to say what he thought others deemed acceptable and/or appropriate in that situation, then Pat deliberately misrepresented his own belief to another. That is he said he believed something when he did not. He spoke insincerely. He was being dishonest. He was lying. He was not 'telling the truth'(scarequotes intentional).
  • creativesoul
    2.6k
    Internalise or externalism? Introspection or action?

    Internalism holds that the content of the belief is irrelevant; that the cat's being on the mat makes no difference to one's belief that the cat is on the mat. After all, one can hold false beliefs. On the other hand one ought believe only what is true; belief in cats on mats must after all somehow take account of cats on mats.

    One's actions might be at odds with one's introspections.

    So which is the real belief, the one reached by introspection or the one deduced from action?

    Neither: there is no real belief...
    Banno

    ...in either of these notions?

    :wink:
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    I'm not seeing any puzzle in this.Janus

    That sums up this discussion.

    We play accounts in which we set up a belief as a cause for our actions, only to find that the belief consists in those actions.Banno

    Who is this "we" you're referring to? I have found no such thing, and I won't, because beliefs don't consist in actions. My belief that I can open my front door with my front door key does not consist in the actions of me opening my front door with my front door key. That makes no sense. This is baloney, Banno. How long are you going to continue with this false narrative?
  • Banno
    2.9k
    My belief that I can open my front door with my front door key does not consist in the actions of me opening my front door with my front door key.Sapientia

    Your belief consists in your being able to lock the door, pocket the key, give the key to a friend, ponder how locks work...

    ...if not, then what exactly is your belief?
  • frank
    1.1k

    The earth's electromagnetic field consists in the deflection of radiation, the movement of compass needles, and the creation of magnetic rocks.

    ... if not, then what exactly is electromagnetism?
  • Banno
    2.9k
    Yep. There is indeed a smell of instrumentalism here.
  • frank
    1.1k
    I hadn't heard of instrumentalism. Are you for or against it?
  • Banno
    2.9k
    Not at all.

    I'm following various lines of thought here just to see where they might go.

    One difference between electromagnetism and belief is that belief is supposedly accessed by introspection; not so much electromagnetism.
  • frank
    1.1k
    One difference between electromagnetism and belief is that belief is supposedly accessed by introspection; not so much electromagnetism.Banno

    What they have in common is that they are both known purely because of their effects.

    Why would you think that cause and effect are identical in one case, but not in the other? Or do you?

    Actually, that's not true, is it?
  • Banno
    2.9k
    Why would you think that cause and effect are identical in one case, but not in the other? Or do you?frank

    Davidson. Can a belief be part of the cause of an act?

    At the start of this thread I would have just said "yes", that in a straight forward way we use beliefs to explain actions, and that these are causal explanations.

    Now I'm swinging away from that.
    What they have in common is that they are both known purely because of their effects.frank

    The claim I am critiquing is that a belief is known best by introspection. That is what I understand is behind Sapientia's position...
    My belief that I can open my front door with my front door key does not consist in the actions of me opening my front door with my front door key.Sapientia
    And it's true that Sap can believe that the key opens the front door, regardless of whether the key actually does.

    However it seems utterly wrong to suppose that Sap's belief that the key can open the front door has nothing to do with the key or the front door.
  • frank
    1.1k
    Davidson. Can a belief be part of the cause of an act?

    At the start of this thread I would have just said "yes", that in a straight forward way we use beliefs to explain actions, and that these are causal explanations.

    Now I'm swinging away from that.
    Banno

    The volitional behavior of a human stands apart from that of other creatures in that it can proceed from reasoned reflection of a more sophisticated variety. Subtract belief from that scenario and you'll just have reflexive behavior. Are you OK with that?

    The claim I am critiquing is that a belief is known best by introspection.Banno

    Your own beliefs should be available to you via introspection. Aren't they?
  • creativesoul
    2.6k
    Introspection is existentially dependent upon social constructs...

    There is no such thing as introspection... aside from asking others about ourselves.
  • frank
    1.1k
    Introspection is existentially dependent upon social constructs...

    There is no such thing as introspection... aside from asking others about ourselves.
    creativesoul

    The second sentence doesn't follow from the first.

    Some linguistic rules are obviously social entities. But children learn to speak in avalanche fashion. There's good reason to believe that much of the capacity is innate.
  • creativesoul
    2.6k
    Agreed.

    I was more making the point about the importance of language. Namely, the framework being used and how it will limit and/or delimit what can be said and how. Some are better than others. With talk about belief, the framework needs to be able to draw a few crucial distinctions and avoid dichotomies which cannot account for things that are both, and thus neither. This is one such dichotomy: Internal/External...

    There is also a mistake hereabouts regarding the notion of location... Belief is not like keys.
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