Against Intellectualist Theories of Belief

Jack Marley-Payne, Minds Online, Sept 14, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Intellectualism is the view that the connection between belief and speech (and also conscious judgement) is to be prioritized." It is a popular position, especially among educators. I have sometimes referred to this view as 'cognitivism' (though there are some differences) and argued against it. This paper is a sustained and largely effective argument against it; the two commentators agree, and as a relatively clearly written paper it thus stands as representative of a general line of argument. The alternative is one in which "one on which all sufficiently sophisticated states with the appropriate action guiding role count as beliefs" - that is, we can have a belief, even if we cannot say what it is or represent it in some way, so long as it is evidence-sensitive and in some way regulates behaviour. Recognition is a classic instance of non-intellectual belief. Anyhow, like I say, this is a good clear read and will clean out your philosophical sinuses.

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