DISORDERED BELIEF: The Fragmentation Approach

The fragmentation approach to puzzles about belief suggests that the various examples of disordered belief cannot be adequately explained by sticking to just one unitary attitude and holding that the subject bears that attitude to some propositions but not others (the 'Individuation' approach). It suggests instead that in these cases we need to appeal to at least two different attitudes - or perhaps different species of the same attitude - to give an adequate characterization of the subject's...

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DISORDERED BELIEF: The Fragmentation Approach by Mind Map: DISORDERED BELIEF: The Fragmentation Approach

1. One attitude that is fragmented

1.1. Graded Belief

1.1.1. --> degree of confidence

1.1.2. Holton (2008) - Partial Belief Partial Intention Is a belief that one will succeed necessary for an intention? It is argued that the question has traditionally been badly posed, framed as it is in terms of all-out belief. We need instead to ask about the relation between intention and partial belief. An account of partial belief that is more psychologically realistic than the standard credence account is developed. A notion of partial intention is then developed, standing to all-out intention much as partial belief stands to all-out belief. Various coherence constraints on the notion are explored. It is concluded that the primary relations between intention and belief should be understood as normative and not essential.

1.1.3. Frankish (2009) - Partial Belief Flatout Belief There is a duality in the folk view of belief. We speak of having both degrees of confidence (or partial beliefs) and flat-out, unqualified beliefs. But how are the two supposed to be related and how can both have a role in guiding rational action,—especially as they are subject to different norms? One response is to argue that the two are not fundamentally distinct—– that one is the core state and the other a derivative. I review various versions of this suggestion and argue that none is attractive. A better view, I argue, is to think of flat-out beliefs as complex behavioural dispositions that are realized in the agent’s partial beliefs and desires. On this view there is no conflict between the efficacy of flat-out states and that of partial ones. Rather, flat-out states are effective in virtue of the underlying partial ones. Nor is there any conflict of rational norms. Actions that manifest a flat-out belief will at the same time manifest the partial beliefs and desires that realize it and may thus be justified by reference to both classical norms and probabilistic ones. I then review different versions of this view and argue for the superiority of what I call the premising view, according to which flat-out belief is a disposition to take the believed proposition as a premise in one’s conscious explicit reasoning and decision-making. I close by indicating how this view might be developed and suggest that is may have important implications for the philosophies of mind and action.

1.1.4. Huber (2009) - Belief and Degrees of Belief Degrees of belief are familiar to all of us. Our confidence in the truth of some propositions is higher than our confidence in the truth of other propositions. We are pretty confident that our computers will boot when we push their power button, but we are much more confident that the sun will rise tomorrow. Degrees of belief formally represent the strength with which we believe the truth of various propositions. The higher an agent’s degree of belief for a particular proposition, the higher her confidence in the truth of that proposition. For instance, Sophia’s degree of belief that it will be sunny in Vienna tomorrow might be .52, whereas her degree of belief that the train will leave on time might be .23. The precise meaning of these statements depends, of course, on the underlying theory of degrees of belief. These theories offer a formal tool to measure degrees of belief, to investigate the relations between various degrees of belief in different propositions, and to normatively evaluate degrees of belief.

1.1.5. Wedgwood (2012) - Outright Belief What is the relation between (a) ‘ full ’ or ‘ outright ’ belief and (b) the various levels of confidence that agents can have in the propositions that concern them? This paper argues for a new answer to this question. Decision theory implies that in making decisions, rational agents must treat certain propositions as though they were completely certain; but on most forms of decision theory, these propositions are not ones for which any finite agent could have maximal justification – the agent will clearly have less justification for these propositions than for elementary logical truths. Thus, every adequate model of a finite rational agent's belief‐system must involve two sets of credences – theoretical credences (the belief‐states that keep track of how much justification the agent has for the propositions in question) and practical credences (the belief‐states on which the agent bases her practical decisions). A full or outright belief in p can be defined as the state of being stably disposed to assign a practical credence of 1 to p , for all normal practical purposes. This definition allows for a kind of reconciliation between the pragmatist and intellectualist approaches in epistemology.

1.1.6. Pettigrew (unpublished) - Self Locating belief and the goal of accuracy The goal of a partial belief is to be accurate, or close to the truth. By appealing to this norm, I seek norms for partial beliefs in self-locating and non-self-locating propositions. My aim is to find norms that are analogous to the Bayesian norms, which, I argue, only apply unproblematically to partial beliefs in non-self-locating propositions. I argue that the goal of a set of partial beliefs is to minimize the expected inaccuracy of those beliefs. However, in the self-locating framework, there are two equally legitimate definitions of expected inaccuracy. And, while each gives rise to the same synchronic norm for partial beliefs, they give rise to different, inconsistent diachronic norms. I conclude that both norms are rationally permissible. En passant, I note that this entails that both Halfer and Thirder solutions to the well-known Sleeping Beauty puzzle are rationally permissible.

1.2. --> Fragmented by degrees of confidence

1.3. Half-Belief

1.3.1. In some sorts of contexts one is in a belief-like state (acts, feels and thinks) with regard to a proposition, but in others one disbelieves it or just disregards it, though it may be just as relevant. BOTH belief and not belief at the same time - something that Is "thrown off" when circumstances alter. e.g. religious belief, superstitutions like walking through graveyard, aesthetic experience like watching a play, make-believe, mentally disordered persons

1.3.2. Price & Braithwaite (1964) - Half Belief Price begins by distinguishing the concept of half-belief from two other attitudes with which it might possibly be confused. Neither is it a case of “believing half of” nor is it “believing mildly” (a degree less than full assent). Rather, it is the notorious fact that frequently a person seems both to believe and not to believe the same thing during the same period of time. That is, he acts, feels and thinks on some occasions as if he believed a proposition while on other occasions he acts, feels and thinks, as if he did not believe it. To explain this, he considers a number of examples from several different areas of human experience. His position is that half-belief should be considered a distinct category of belief, that it can be reasonable, and that it would be a mistake to say that half-belief is ‘a bad thing’ – something dishonourable to human nature or unworthy of a rational being– in fact, there are occasions when it is a very good one. In opposition to Price, Braithwaite claims that half-belief as a phenomenon falling into a distinct category is never reasonable and always ‘a bad thing’. He focuses his discussion on the relation of action to belief as it is related to Decision Theory, arguing that holding a belief does not directly determine any action. Rather, he proposes, through what Carnap calls ‘rational reconstruction’ that uncertainty imposes through the domination principle a restriction upon the way in which it is reasonable to act, a restriction which, as for belief and disbelief, prescribes the rational choice in six out of nine possible cases. Through this rational reconstruction, Braithwaite goes through some of Price’s examples, arguing that the concept of half-belief does not adequately describe any of them.

1.3.3. Campbell (1967) - Towards a Definition of Belief Within the last few years, a number of searching papers dealing with the multi-faceted problem of Belief have appeared – e.g. by Professor Griggiths (“On Belief”), by Mr. Mayo (“Belief and Constraint”), and by Professor Harrison (“Does Knowing imply Believing?”); and two veteran stalwarts in this field, Professor Price and Professor Braithwaite, have re-emerged to engage one another in a valuable symposium on what they all “Half-belief”. Nevertheless, though the recent discussions have been highly stimulating, it may reasonably be doubted whether, individually or collectively, they take us any great distance towards the solution of the basic problem, that of the essential nature of belief. If this is the goal, then it seems that attention must first be given to certain fundamental distinctions which current controversy virtually ignores. This paper works towards a definition of belief for the purpose of giving priority to these fundamental distinctions within it.

1.3.4. Dennett 1987

1.4. Compartmentalized Belief

1.4.1. Rather than having a single system of beliefs that guides all of our behavior all of the time, we have a number of distinct, compartmentalized systems of belief, different ones of which drive different aspects of our behavior in different contexts.

1.4.2. Egan (2008) - Seeing and believing Rather than having a single system of beliefs that guides all of our behavior all of the time, we have a number of distinct, compartmentalized systems of belief, different ones of which drive different aspects of our behavior in different contexts. It’s tempting to think that, while of course people are fragmented, it would be better (from the perspective of rationality) if they weren’t, and the only reason why our fragmentation is excusable is that we have limited cognitive resources, which prevents us from holding too much information before our minds at a time. Give us enough additional processing capacity, and there’d be no justification for any continued fragmentation. I argue that this is not so. There are good reasons to be fragmented rather than unified, independent of the limitations on our available processing power. In particular, there are ways our belief-forming mechanisms—including our perceptual systems—could be constructed that would make it better to be fragmented than to be unified. And there are reasons to think that some of our belief-forming mechanisms really are constructed that way.

1.4.3. Elga and Rayo (unpublished) - Fragmentation and Information Access This paper attempts to take up the challenging task of characterizing the attitudes of those in confused, incoherent, fragmented or divided states of mind. For example, consider the case of a witness, who, when asked to identify the perpetrator from a lineup, confidently chooses a man with a thin, bearded face, but when asked to make a sketch of him, confidently produces a sketch of a fat, beardless face. The question is, when the witness is sitting at home, not thinking about the crime at all, what exactly is his attitude to claim that the perpetrator had a beard? Elga and Rayo argue that this kind of attitude does not neatly fall in a familiar category and that the best response is to recognize that there is no single unqualified way the world is according to the subject. Rather, how the subject views the world is specified by the condition (circumstance or type of action) the subject is in.

1.5. --> Fragmented by context

1.6. In-Between Believing

1.6.1. The subject has some but not all of the dispositions that we would naturally associate with the belief. NEITHER believing P nor failing to believe P but somewhere in between. e.g. gradual forgetting, failure to think things through completely (prime numbers), variability with context and mood (believing in God)

1.6.2. Schwitzgebel (2001) - In Between believing For any proposition p, it may sometimes occur that a person is not quite accurately describable as believing that p, nor quite accurately describable as failing to believe that p. I shall say that such people are ‘in between’ believing that p and not believing it, or that they are in an ‘in-between state of belief’. The aim of this paper is to indicate the prevalence of such in- between states of believing, and to assert the need for an account of belief that allows us to talk intelligibly about in-between believing.

1.6.3. Schwitzgebel (2002) - A Phenomenal Dispositional Account of belief This paper describes and defends in detail a novel account of belief, an account inspired by Ryle's dispositional characterization of belief, but emphasizing irreducibly phenomenal and cognitive dispositions as well as behavioral dispositions. Potential externalist and functionalist objections are considered, as well as concerns motivated by the inevitably ceteris paribus nature of the relevant dispositional attributions. It is argued that a dispositional account of belief is particularly well-suited to handle what might be called "in-between" cases of believing - cases in which it is neither quite right to describe a person as having a particular belief nor quite right to describe her as lacking it.

1.6.4. Rowbottom (2007) - In Between Believing and Degrees of Belief Schwitzgebel (2001) — henceforth 'S' — offers three examples in order to convince us that there are situations in which individuals are neither accurately describable as believing that p or failing to so believe, but are rather in 'in-between states of belief'. He then argues that there are no 'Bayesian' or representational strategies for explicating these, and proposes a dispositional account. I do not have any fundamental objection to the idea that there might be 'in-between states of belief'. What I shall argue, rather, is that: (I) S does not provide a convincing argument that there really are such states; (II) S does not show, as he claims, that 'in-between states of belief' could not be accounted for in terms of degrees of belief; (III) S’s dispositional account of 'in-between states of belief' is more problematic than the 'degree of belief' alternative.

1.6.5. Schitzgebel (2010) - Acting Contrary to our Professed Beliefs People often sincerely assert or judge one thing (for example, that all the races are intellectually equal) while at the same time being disposed to act in a way evidently quite contrary to the espoused attitude (for example, in a way that seems to suggest an implicit assumption of the intellectual superiority of their own race). This paper argues that such cases should be regarded as ‘in-between’ cases of believing, in which it’s neither quite right to ascribe the belief in question, or quite right to say that the person lacks the belief.

1.6.6. Tumulty (2012) - Delusions and Not Quite Beliefs Bortolotti argues that the irrationality of many delusions is no different in kind from the irrationality that marks many non-pathological states typically treated as beliefs. She takes this to secure the doxastic status of those delusions. Bortolotti’s approach has many benefits. For example, it accounts for the fact that we can often make some sense of what deluded subjects are up to, and helps explain why some deluded subjects are helped by cognitive behavioral therapy. But there is an alternative approach that secures the same benefits as Bortolotti’s account while bringing additional benefits. The alternative approach treats both many delusions and many of the non-pathological states to which Bortolotti compares them as in-between states. Subjects in in-between states don’t fully believe the beliefs which it is sometimes convenient to ascribe to them. This alternative approach to belief and belief-ascription fits well with an independently attractive account of the varied purposes of our ordinary attitude ascriptions. It also makes it easier to make fine-grained distinctions between intentional attitudes of different kinds.

2. Two attitudes in tension

2.1. Distinguishes between different belief-like attitudes or cognitive relations that are in tension

2.2. Belief & Acceptance

2.2.1. van Fraassen (1980) - The Scientific Image (Book)

2.2.2. Bach (1981) - An Analysis of Self Deception This paper proposes that self-deception is not essentially a matter of belief at all. A person who believes that p (or that the evidence heavily favors p) can deceive himself that not-p without having to get himself to believe that not-p. Consider that the occasion for deceiving oneself arises only insofar as the touchy subject is thought of, and so if the person believed that p (while desiring that not-p) but it never occurred to him that p, he would have no occasion to deceive himself. Accordingly, what matters in self-deception is not the belief that p per se but the occurrence of the thought that p, especially on a sustained or repeated basis. The account proposed here attempts to capture the complexities of self-deception without the paradoxes. There are three distinct ways of doing this – rationalization, evasion, and jamming. Bach first explains the important distinction between believing and thinking that p before describing these three distinct ways and extracting an analysis of self-deception from what they have in common.

2.2.3. Harman (1986) - Change in View (Book)

2.2.4. Cohen (1989) - Belief and Acceptance This paper tries to show that the distinction between belief and acceptance has a number of important implications that have tended to be overlooked in the past fifty years or so of analytical philosophy. In particular, this paper tries to survey the consequences of drawing the distinction in regard to, first, the implications of certain kinds of speech-acts; secondly the explanation of purposive action; and, thirdly, the characterization of knowledge (and especially of scientific knowledge). Some of these consequences may seem fairly obvious when they are stated, but I have not seen any statement of them elsewhere.

2.2.5. Lehrer (1990) - Metamind (Book)

2.2.6. Engel (1998) - Believing holding true and accepting Belief is not a unified phenomenon. In this paper I argue, as a number of other writers argue, that one should distinguish a variety of belief-like attitudes: believing proper - a dispositional state which can have degrees - holding true - which can occur without understanding what one believes - and accepting - a practical and contextual attitude that has a role in deliberation and in practical reasoning. Acceptance itself is not a unified attitude. I explore the various relationships and differences between these doxastic attitudes, and claim that although acceptance is distinct from belief, it rests upon it, and is therefore a species of belief.

2.2.7. Bratman (1999) - Faces of Intention (Book)

2.2.8. Velleman (2000) - The Possibility of Pratical Reason (Book)

2.2.9. Buckareff (2004) - Acceptance and deciding to believe Defending the distinction between believing and accepting a proposition, I argue that cases where agents allegedly exercise direct voluntary control over their beliefs are instances of agents exercising direct voluntary control over accepting a proposition. The upshot is that any decision to believe a proposition cannot result directly in one’s acquiring the belief. Accepting is an instrumental mental action the agent performs that may trigger belief. A model of the relationship between acceptance and belief is sketched and defended. The consequences of the distinction between belief and acceptance, and the model of belief control sketched are then applied to the recent case made by Carl Ginet in defense of the conceptual and psychological possibility of agents exercising direct voluntary control over their beliefs.

2.2.10. Frankish (2004) - Mind and Supermind (Book)

2.2.11. Audi (2008) - Belief, Faith and Acceptance This paper sketches the major concepts in the philosophy of religion that are expressed by these three terms. In doing so, it distinguishes propositional belief (belief that) from both objectual belief (believing something to have a property) and, more importantly, belief in (a trusting attitude that is illustrated by at least many paradigm cases of belief in God). Faith is shown to have a similar complexity, and even propositional faith divides into importantly different categories. Acceptance differs from both belief and faith in that at least one kind of acceptance is behavioral in a way neither of the other two elements is. Acceptance of a proposition, it is argued, does not entail believing it, nor does believing entail acceptance in any distinctive sense of the latter term. In characterizing these three notions (and related ones), the paper provides some basic materials important both for understanding a person’s religious position and for appraising its rationality. The nature of religious faith and some of the conditions for its rationality, including some deriving from elements of an ethics of belief, are explored in some detail.

2.3. Implicit & Explicit Belief

2.3.1. One's implicit beliefs include, by definition, all of the deductive consequences of one's beliefs, whether or not they are or could be recognized as such by the agent.

2.3.2. Audi (1982) - Believing and affirming A crucial assumption Socrates makes in questioning the boy in Meno is that the boy's affirmations indicate knowledge the boy had prior to being questioned. It is likely that Socrates was taking knowing to entail believing and would also assume that the boy's affirmations expressed prior beliefs. In any case, this second assumption suggests some important views about the relation between believing and affirming, and these views will be a major concern of this paper. If, as I shall assume, knowing does entail believing, then certain of the points that emerge will apply to Socrates' argument even if he himself did not take the entailment to hold. This paper shows how the idea of believing and affirming being closely connected figures in some plausible arguments for the infinite belief thesis – the view that a person can have an infinite number of beliefs. In the context of evaluating these arguments, the idea can be- readily assessed, and some important distinctions can be clearly brought out.

2.3.3. Crimmins (1992) - Tacitness and Virtual Beliefs This paper describes the distinction between tacit and explicit beliefs by presenting the virtual-belief account: Tacit beliefs are explicit beliefs that are present virtually or in effect. Examples are used to demonstrate the broad plausibility of a virtual-belief account. Guidelines are proposed concerning relevance and the kinds of similarities between actual dispositions and dispositions given in an explicit belief. If the virtual-belief account is on the right track, then the task of explaining what at-least-tacitly believing is becomes the project of giving a systematic characterization of the mechanisms that determine relevant dimensions of comparison.

2.3.4. Manfredi (1993) - Tacit Beliefs and other doxastic attitudes Tacit beliefs were thought to be an embarrassment for intentional realists because individuals seemed to have an indefinite number of them; consequently, they could not be explicitly represented in the brain. This paper argues that this problem can be avoided by eliminating the class of tacit beliefs entirely. Sections 2-4 argue that in many cases what appear to be tacit beliefs are, in reality, dispositions to believe. However, not all cases of apparent tacit beliefs can be handled this way. Section 5 argues that the remaining cases should be classified as sub-doxastic states and sketches a taxonomy of doxastic states that distinguishes beliefs both from opinions and form sub-doxastic states. This taxonomy is argued to provide the means to complete the job of eliminating tacit beliefs and provide a structure that permits conflict to arise between what individuals sincerely say and what they believe.

2.3.5. Audi (1994) - dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe (subcategory of tacit) Do you believe that this sentence has more than two words? And do you believe that 98.124 is larger than 98? It would be natural to answer affirmatively. And surely, for most readers considering these questions, that would be answering truly. Moreover, in affirmatively answering them, we seem to express antecedent beliefs: after all, we are aware of several words in the first sentence by the time we are asked if it has more than two, and it is obvious that 98.124 is larger than 98. Antecedent belief of the propositions in question believing them before being asked whether we do is also the readiest explanation of why we answer the questions affirmatively without having to think about them. These considerations incline many people to attribute to us far more beliefs than, in my judgment, we have. Antecedent belief may be the readiest explanation of our spontaneous answers, but it is not the best explanation. I contend that, here, what may seem to be antecedently held but as yet unarticulated dispositional beliefs are really something quite different: dispositions to believe. This distinction is my concern. The terms 'tacit belief' and 'implicit belief' have been used for both dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, but I will not discuss the many uses of the former pair. My account of the distinction should, however, help to clarify the various notions associated with all four terms. It is also intended to elucidate belief and other propositional attitudes.

2.3.6. Lycan (1998) - Tacit belief (against)

2.3.7. Vierkrant (2012) - Self-knowledge and knowing other minds

2.4. Alief & Belief

2.4.1. The mismatch in each case is the result of tension between belief and a mental state called ‘alief’ – an associative, automatic and arational response to visual stimuli which activates a low-level cluster of associations – a mental representation, an affective state and a behaviour. Since both aliefs and beliefs activate behavioural propensities, sometimes the propensities are in conflict and sometimes they coincide.

2.4.2. Gendler (2008) - Alief and Belief I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. Paradigmatic alief can be characterized as a mental state with associatively-linked content that is representational, affective and behavioral, and that is activated – consciously or unconsciously – by features of the subject’s internal or ambient environment. Alief is a more primitive state than either belief or imagination: it directly activates behavioral response patterns (as opposed to motivating in conjunction with desire or pretended desire.) I argue that alief explains a large number of otherwise perplexing phenomena and plays a far larger role in causing behavior than has typically been recognized by philosophers. I argue further that the notion can be invoked to explain both the effectiveness and the limitations of certain sorts of example-based reasoning, and that it lies at the core of habit-based views of ethics.

2.4.3. Gendler (2008) - Alief in Action (and Reaction) I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate control.

2.4.4. Kriegel (2011) - Moral Motivation, Moral phenomenology and the Alief/Belief Distinction In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ‘alief’. Gendler’s argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ‘belief-behaviour mismatch’. After embedding Gendler’s distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/ belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (x1) and a discussion of Gendler’s alief/belief distinction (x2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (x3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (x4).

2.4.5. Kwong (2011) - Resisting Aliefs: Gendler on Belief-discordant Behaviors This paper challenges T. S. Gendler's notion of aliefs, a novel kind of mental state which she introduces to explain a wide variety of belief-discordant behaviors. In particular, I argue that many of the cases which she uses to motivate such a mental state can be fully explained by accounts that make use only of commonplace attitudes such as beliefs and desires

2.4.6. Muller & Bashour (2011) - Why Alief is not a legitimate Psychological Category We defend the view that belief is a psychological category against a recent attempt to recast it as a normative one. Tamar Gendler has argued that to properly understand how beliefs function in the regulation and production of action, we need to contrast beliefs with a class of psychological states and processes she calls “aliefs.” We agree with Gendler that affective states as well as habits and instincts deserve more attention than they receive in the contemporary philosophical psychology literature. But we argue that it is a serious error to align beliefs with the norm of rationality, while building a contrasting category whose members are characterized primarily by their failure to measure up to that normative standard, since these latter ones cannot constitute a distinct psychological category. First, we demonstrate that Gendler gets unwarranted conclusions about the existence of aliefs from belief-discordant cases. Next, we argue that the concept of alief is insufficiently clear. Aliefs cannot be distinguished from other types of states, such as beliefs. Also, when grouping many states under the category of aliefs, Gendler overlooks important differences between phenomena that are clearly distinct, such as habits and instincts. Aliefs simply do not constitute a legitimate psychological category.

2.4.7. Brownstein & Madva (2012) - The Normativity of Automaticity While the causal contributions of so-called ‘automatic’ processes to behavior are now widely acknowledged, less attention has been given to their normative role in the guidance of action. We develop an account of the normativity of automaticity that responds to and builds upon Tamar Szabó Gendler's account of ‘alief’, an associative and arational mental state more primitive than belief. Alief represents a promising tool for integrating psychological research on automaticity with philosophical work on mind and action, but Gendler errs in overstating the degree to which aliefs are norm-insensitive

2.4.8. Hubbs (2013) - Alief and Explanation This article critiques the much-discussed notion of alief recently introduced by Tamar Gendler. The narrow goal is to show that the notion is explanatorily unnecessary; the broader goal is to demonstrate the importance of making explicit one's explanatory framework when offering a philosophical account of the mind. After introducing the concept of alief and the examples Gendler characterizes in terms of it, the article examines the explanatory framework within which appeal to such a concept can seem necessary. This framework, it argues, is a generalization of the belief-desire account of action. Although Gendler introduces the notion of alief in an attempt to move beyond the belief-desire account, it argues that she nevertheless works within a generalized version of its explanatory structure. Once the framework is made explicit, we find no explanatory need that requires introducing the notion of alief into our account of the mind.

2.4.9. Mandelbaum (2013) - Against Alief This essay attempts to clarify the nature and structure of aliefs. First I distinguish between a robust notion of aliefs and a deflated one. A robust notion of aliefs would introduce aliefs into our psychological ontology as a hitherto undiscovered kind, whereas a deflated notion of aliefs would identify aliefs as a set of pre-existing psychological states. I then propose the following dilemma: one the one hand, if aliefs have propositional content, then it is unclear exactly how aliefs differ from psychological states we already countenance, in which case there is no robust notion of aliefs; on the other, if aliefs just contain associative content, then they cannot do the explanatory work set out for them, in which case there is no reason to posit aliefs at all. Thus, it appears that we have little reason to posit the novel category of robust aliefs.

2.4.10. Albari (2014) - Alief or belief? A contextual approach to belief ascription There has been a surge of interest over cases where a subject sincerely endorses P while displaying discordant strains of not-P in her behaviour and emotion. Cases like this are telling because they bear directly upon conditions under which belief should be ascribed. Are beliefs to be aligned with what we sincerely endorse or with what we do and feel? If belief doesn’t explain the discordant strains, what does? T.S. Gendler has recently attempted to explain all the discordances by introducing a controversial new cognitive category—associative clusters called ‘alief’. Others think that belief explains all the discordancy cases, while others argue that in-between belief does the trick, and so on. Most advocates of the different positions, indeed, assume that their favoured analysis will explain the whole range of discordancy cases. This paper defends what I call the ‘contextual view’, where I argue that overturning this assumption of uniformity leads to more nuanced account of belief-ascription. On the contextual view, which analysis applies to which case depends on the discordancy case at hand. Perhaps a height-phobic stepping on a glass platform deserves different treatment to a hesitant stepper. I ground the contextual view in a biologically functional account of the alief/belief distinction, which construes alief as a real cognitive category but without the explanatory reach Gendler gives it. This functional distinction yields a principled strategy for determining the correct application of analysis to discordancy case.

2.5. Belief de dicto & Mondial Belief

2.5.1. "de mundo" belief: a relation between the believer and the world. e.g. despite believing de dicto that God does not exist, the atheist who prays to God when under fire in the foxhole may believe de mundo that God does exist).

2.5.2. Sommers (2009) - Dissonant Beliefs This paper argues against the conception of belief as a propositional attitude and instead proposes that belief is a relation between the believer and the world – what Sommers calls the “mondialist” view. It argues that distinguishing the two very different kinds of belief – de mundo as well as de dicto – enables one to explain phenomena of doxastic dissonance that standard propositionalist accounts cannot adequately explain (e.g. despite believing de dicto that God does not exist, the atheist who prays to God when under fire in the foxhole may believe de mundo that God does exist).