Belief

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Belief is the attitude that something is the case or true. [1] In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to personal attitudes associated with true or false ideas and concepts. However, "belief" does not require active introspection and circumspection. For example, few ponder whether the sun will rise, just assume it will. Since "belief" is an important aspect of mundane life, according to Eric Schwitzgebel in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a related question asks: "how a physical organism can have beliefs?" [2]

In psychology, attitude is a psychological construct, a mental and emotional entity that inheres in, or characterizes a person. They are complex and are an acquired state through experiences. It is an individual's predisposed state of mind regarding a value and it is precipitated through a responsive expression towards a person, place, thing, or event which in turn influences the individual's thought and action. Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport described this latent psychological construct as "the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology." Attitude can be formed from a person's past and present. Key topics in the study of attitudes include attitude strength, attitude change, consumer behavior, and attitude-behavior relationships.

Truth In accord with fact or reality

Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Truth is also sometimes defined in modern contexts as an idea of "truth to self", or authenticity.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Contents

In the context of Ancient Greek thought, two related concepts were identified regarding the concept of belief: pistis and doxa . Simplified, pistis refers to "trust" and "confidence", while doxa refers to "opinion" and "acceptance". The English word "orthodoxy" derives from doxa.

Ancient Greek philosophy Philosophical origins and foundation of western civilization

Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics.

Doxa is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion. In classical rhetoric, doxa is contrasted with episteme (knowledge).

Orthodoxy adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion

Orthodoxy is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. In the Christian sense the term means "conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church." The first seven ecumenical councils were held between the years of 325 and 787 with the aim of formalizing accepted doctrines.

Psychology

Mainstream psychology and related disciplines have traditionally treated belief as if it were the simplest form of mental representation and therefore one of the building blocks of conscious thought. Philosophers have tended to be more abstract in their analysis, and much of the work examining the viability of the belief concept stems from philosophical analysis.

The concept of belief presumes a subject (the believer) and an object of belief (the proposition). So, like other propositional attitudes, belief implies the existence of mental states and intentionality, both of which are hotly debated topics in the philosophy of mind, whose foundations and relation to brain states are still controversial.

A propositional attitude is a mental state held by an agent toward a proposition.

A mental state is a state of mind that an agent is in. Most simplistically, a mental state is a mental condition. It is a relation that connects the agent with a proposition. Several of these states are a combination of mental representations and propositional attitudes. There are several paradigmatic states of mind that an agent has: love, hate, pleasure and pain, and attitudes toward propositions such as: believing that, conceiving that, hoping and fearing that, etc.

Intentionality is a philosophical concept defined as "the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs". The idea fell out of discussion with the end of the medieval scholastic period, but in recent times was resurrected by Franz Brentano and later adopted by Edmund Husserl. Today, intentionality is a live concern among philosophers of mind and language. The earliest theory of intentionality is associated with St. Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, and with his tenets distinguishing between objects that exist in the understanding and objects that exist in reality.

Beliefs are sometimes divided into core beliefs (that are actively thought about) and dispositional beliefs (that may be ascribed to someone who has not thought about the issue). For example, if asked "do you believe tigers wear pink pajamas?" a person might answer that they do not, despite the fact they may never have thought about this situation before. [3]

This has important implications for understanding the neuropsychology and neuroscience of belief. If the concept of belief is incoherent, then any attempt to find the underlying neural processes that support it will fail.

Neuropsychology is the study and characterization of the behavioral modifications that follow a neurological trauma or condition. It is both an experimental and clinical field of psychology that aims to understand how behavior and cognition are influenced by brain functioning and is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and cognitive effects of neurological disorders. Whereas classical neurology focuses on the pathology of the nervous system and classical psychology is largely divorced from it, neuropsychology seeks to discover how the brain correlates with the mind through the study of neurological patients. It thus shares concepts and concerns with neuropsychiatry and with behavioral neurology in general. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied in efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in higher primates.

Neuroscience scientific study of the nervous system

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. It is a multidisciplinary branch of biology that combines physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, mathematical modeling and psychology to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of neurons and neural circuits. The understanding of the biological basis of learning, memory, behavior, perception, and consciousness has been described by Eric Kandel as the "ultimate challenge" of the biological sciences.

Philosopher Lynne Rudder Baker has outlined four main contemporary approaches to belief in her controversial book Saving Belief: [4]

Lynne Rudder Baker was an American philosopher and author. At the time of her death she was a Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was a native of Atlanta. She got her Ph.D. in 1972 from Vanderbilt University after beginning her graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University in 1967. She was a fellow of the National Humanities Center (1983–1984) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1988–1989). She joined the faculty of UMass Amherst in 1989. She is the author of several books, notably Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism (1987), Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind (1995), Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View (2000), and The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism (2007). Along with several other scholars, Baker delivered the 2001 Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology at the University of Glasgow, published as The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding. She was a member of the Amherst Grace Episcopal Church. Baker died of heart disease on December 24, 2017 in Amherst, Massachusetts, aged 73.

Strategic approaches make a distinction between rules, norms and beliefs as follows: (1) Rules. Explicit regulative processes such as policies, laws, inspection routines, or incentives. Rules function as a coercive regulator of behavior and are dependent upon the imposing entity's ability to enforce them. (2) Norms. Regulative mechanisms accepted by the social collective. Norms are enforced by normative mechanisms within the organization and are not strictly dependent upon law or regulation. (3) Beliefs. The collective perception of fundamental truths governing behavior. The adherence to accepted and shared beliefs by members of a social system will likely persist and be difficult to change over time. Strong beliefs about determinant factors (i.e., security, survival, or honor) are likely to cause a social entity or group to accept rules and norms. [5]

Knowledge and epistemology

A Venn/Euler diagram which grants that truth and well-justified belief may be distinguished and that their intersection is knowledge Classical definition of Kno.svg
A Venn/Euler diagram which grants that truth and well-justified belief may be distinguished and that their intersection is knowledge

Epistemology is concerned with delineating the boundary between justified belief and opinion, [6] and involved generally with a theoretical philosophical study of knowledge. The primary problem in epistemology is to understand exactly what is needed in order for us to have knowledge. In a notion derived from Plato's dialogue Theaetetus , where the epistemology of Socrates (Platon) most clearly departs from that of the sophists, who at the time of Plato seem to have defined knowledge as what is here expressed as "justified true belief". The tendency to translate from belief (here: doxa – common opinion) to knowledge (here: episteme), which Plato (e.g. Socrates of the dialogue) utterly dismisses, results from failing to distinguish a dispositive belief (gr. 'doxa', not 'pistis') from knowledge (episteme) when the opinion is regarded true (here: orthé), in terms of right, and juristically so (according to the premises of the dialogue), which was the task of the rhetors to prove. Plato dismisses this possibility of an affirmative relation between belief (i.e. opinion) and knowledge even when the one who opines grounds his belief on the rule, and is able to add justification (gr. logos: reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) to it. [7]

Plato has been credited for the "justified true belief" theory of knowledge, even though Plato in the Theaetetus (dialogue) elegantly dismisses it, and even posits this argument of Socrates as a cause for his death penalty. Among American epistemologists, Gettier (1963) [8] and Goldman (1967), [9] have questioned the "justified true belief" definition, and challenged the "sophists" of their time.

Justified true belief

Justified true belief is a definition of knowledge that gained approval during the Enlightenment, 'justified' standing in contrast to 'revealed'. There have been attempts to trace it back to Plato and his dialogues.[ clarification needed ] [10] The concept of justified true belief states that in order to know that a given proposition is true, one must not only believe the relevant true proposition, but also have justification for doing so. In more formal terms, an agent knows that a proposition is true if and only if:

  1. is true
  2. believes that is true, and
  3. is justified in believing that is true

This theory of knowledge suffered a significant setback with the discovery of Gettier problems, situations in which the above conditions were seemingly met but where many philosophers disagree that anything is known. [11] Robert Nozick suggested a clarification of "justification" which he believed eliminates the problem: the justification has to be such that were the justification false, the knowledge would be false. [12] Bernecker and Dretske (2000) argue that "no epistemologist since Gettier has seriously and successfully defended the traditional view." [13] :3 On the other hand, Paul Boghossian argues that the Justified True Belief account is the "standard, widely accepted" definition of knowledge. [14]

Formation

We are influenced by many factors that ripple through our minds as our beliefs form, evolve, and may eventually change Ripples of influence.jpg
We are influenced by many factors that ripple through our minds as our beliefs form, evolve, and may eventually change

Psychologists study belief formation and the relationship between beliefs and actions. Three models of belief formation and change have been proposed:

Conditional inference process

When people are asked to estimate the likelihood that a statement is true, they search their memory for information that has implications for the validity of this statement. Once this information has been identified, they estimate a) the likelihood that the statement would be true if the information were true, and b) the likelihood that the statement would be true if the information were false. If their estimates for these two probabilities differ, people average them, weighting each by the likelihood that the information is true and false (respectively). Thus, information bears directly on beliefs of another, related statement. [15]

Linear models

Unlike the previous model, this one takes into consideration the possibility of multiple factors influencing belief formation. Using regression procedures, this model predicts belief formation on the basis of several different pieces of information, with weights assigned to each piece on the basis of their relative importance. [15]

Information processing models and change

These models address the fact that the responses people have to belief-relevant information is unlikely to be predicted from the objective basis of the information that they can recall at the time their beliefs are reported. Instead, these responses reflect the number and meaning of the thoughts that people have about the message at the time that they encounter it. [15]

Some influences on people's belief formation include:

However, even educated people, well aware of the process by which beliefs form, still strongly cling to their beliefs, and act on those beliefs even against their own self-interest. In Anna Rowley's book, Leadership Therapy, she states "You want your beliefs to change. It's proof that you are keeping your eyes open, living fully, and welcoming everything that the world and people around you can teach you." This means that peoples' beliefs should evolve as they gain new experiences. [22]

Revision

An extensive amount of scientific research and philosophical discussion exists around the modification of beliefs, which is commonly referred to as belief revision. Generally speaking, the process of belief revision entails the believer weighing the set of truths and/or evidence, and the dominance of a set of truths or evidence on an alternative to a held belief can lead to revision. One process of belief revision is Bayesian updating and is often referenced for its mathematical basis and conceptual simplicity. However, such a process may not be representative for individuals whose beliefs are not easily characterized as probabilistic.

There are several techniques for individuals or groups to change the beliefs of others; these methods generally fall under the umbrella of persuasion. Persuasion can take on more specific forms such as consciousness raising when considered in an activist or political context. Belief modification may also occur as a result of the experience of outcomes. Because goals are based, in part on beliefs, the success or failure at a particular goal may contribute to modification of beliefs that supported the original goal.

Whether or not belief modification actually occurs is dependent not only on the extent of truths or evidence for the alternative belief, but also characteristics outside the specific truths or evidence. This includes, but is not limited to: the source characteristics of the message, such as credibility; social pressures; the anticipated consequences of a modification; or the ability of the individual or group to act on the modification. Therefore, individuals seeking to achieve belief modification in themselves or others need to consider all possible forms of resistance to belief revision.

Partial

Without qualification, "belief" normally implies a lack of doubt, especially insofar as it is a designation of a life stance. In practical everyday use however, belief is normally partial and retractable with varying degrees of certainty.

A copious literature exists in multiple disciplines to accommodate this reality. In mathematics probability, fuzzy logic, fuzzy set theory, and other topics are largely directed to this.

Prediction

Different psychological models have tried to predict people's beliefs and some of them try to estimate the exact probabilities of beliefs. For example, Robert Wyer developed a model of subjective probabilities. [23] [24] When people rate the likelihood of a certain statement (e.g., "It will rain tomorrow"), this rating can be seen as a subjective probability value. The subjective probability model posits that these subjective probabilities follow the same rules as objective probabilities. For example, the law of total probability might be applied to predict a subjective probability value. Wyer found that this model produces relatively accurate predictions for probabilities of single events and for changes in these probabilities, but that the probabilities of several beliefs linked by "and" or "or" do not follow the model as well. [23] [24]

Epistemology versus religion

Historically belief-in belonged in the realm of religious thought, belief-that instead belonged to epistemological considerations. [25]

Belief-in

To "believe in" someone or something is a distinct concept from "believing-that." There are at least these types of belief-in: [26]

Belief-that

Economic belief

Economic beliefs are beliefs which are reasonably and necessarily contrary to the tenet of rational choice or instrumental rationality. [28]

Studies of the Austrian tradition of the economic thought, in the context of analysis of the influence and subsequent degree of change resulting from existing economic knowledge and belief, has contributed the most to the subsequent holistic collective analysis. [29]

Delusion

Insofar as the truth of belief is expressed in sentential and propositional form we are using the sense of belief-that rather than belief-in. Delusion arises when the truth value of the form is clearly nil. [30] [31] [32]

Delusions are defined as beliefs in psychiatric diagnostic criteria [33] (for example in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ). Psychiatrist and historian G.E. Berrios has challenged the view that delusions are genuine beliefs and instead labels them as "empty speech acts," where affected persons are motivated to express false or bizarre belief statements due to an underlying psychological disturbance. However, the majority of mental health professionals and researchers treat delusions as if they were genuine beliefs.

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass the White Queen says, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." This is often quoted in mockery of the common ability of people to entertain beliefs contrary to fact.

Science

In scientific medical writing, the verb 'believe' can mean "actively accept as true" on the basis of external evidence (for example, a statement of the type, "we believe that x is a better treatment than y in this disease" can imply that "after examining the available evidence, we have concluded that x is..."). [34]

Religion

Religion collage updated.jpg

Religious belief refers to attitudes towards mythological, supernatural, or spiritual aspects of a religion. [35] Religious belief is distinct from religious practice and from religious behaviours – with some believers not practicing religion and some practitioners not believing religion. Religious beliefs, deriving from ideas that are exclusive to religion,[ citation needed ] often relate to the existence, characteristics and worship of a deity or deities, to the idea of divine intervention in the universe and in human life, or to the deontological explanations for the values and practices centered on the teachings of a spiritual leader or of a spiritual group. In contrast to other belief systems, religious beliefs are usually codified. [36]

Forms

A popular view holds that different religions each have identifiable and exclusive sets of beliefs or creeds, but surveys of religious belief have often found that the official doctrine and descriptions of the beliefs offered by religious authorities do not always agree with the privately held beliefs of those who identify as members of a particular religion. [37] For a broad classification of the kinds of religious belief, see below.

Fundamentalism

First self-applied as a term to the conservative doctrine outlined by anti-modernist Protestants in the United States, [38] "fundamentalism" in religious terms denotes strict adherence to an interpretation of scriptures that are generally associated with theologically conservative positions or traditional understandings of the text and are distrustful of innovative readings, new revelation, or alternative interpretations.[ citation needed ] Religious fundamentalism has been identified[ by whom? ] in the media as being associated with fanatical or zealous political movements around the world that have used a strict adherence to a particular religious doctrine as a means to establish political identity and to enforce societal norms.[ citation needed ]

Orthodoxy

First used in the context of Early Christianity, the term "orthodoxy" relates to religious belief that closely follows the edicts, apologies, and hermeneutics of a prevailing religious authority. In the case of Early Christianity, this authority was the communion of bishops, and is often referred to by the term "Magisterium". The term orthodox was applied[ when? ] almost as an epithet to a group of Jewish believers who held to pre-Enlightenment understanding of Judaism – now known as Orthodox Judaism. The Eastern Orthodox Church of Christianity and the Catholic Church each consider themselves to be the true heir to Early Christian belief and practice. The antonym of "orthodox" is "heterodox", and those adhering to orthodoxy often accuse the heterodox of apostasy, schism, or heresy.

Modernism/reform

The Renaissance and later the Enlightenment in Europe exhibited varying degrees of religious tolerance and intolerance towards new and old religious ideas. The philosophes took particular exception to many of the more fantastical claims of religions and directly challenged religious authority and the prevailing beliefs associated with the established churches. In response to the liberalizing political and social movements, some religious groups attempted to integrate Enlightenment ideals of rationality, equality, and individual liberty into their belief systems, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Reform Judaism and Liberal Christianity offer two examples of such religious associations.

Universalism

Some believe that religion cannot be separated from other aspects of life, or believe that certain cultures did not or do not separate their religious activities from other activities in the same way that some people in modern Western cultures do.

Some anthropologists [ who? ] report cultures in which gods are involved in every aspect of life – if a cow goes dry, a god has caused this, and must be propitiated; when the sun rises in the morning, a god has caused this, and must be thanked. Even in modern Western cultures, many people see supernatural forces behind every event, as described by Carl Sagan in his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World .

People with such a worldview often[ quantify ] regard the influence of Western culture as inimical. Others with this worldview resist the influence of science, and believe that science (or "so-called science") should be guided by religion. Still others with this worldview believe that all political decisions and laws should be guided by religion. This last belief, written into the constitutions of many[ which? ] Islamic nations, is shared by some fundamentalist Christians.

Beliefs about the supernatural or metaphysical may not presuppose a difference between any such thing as nature and non-nature, nor between science and what most educated people believe. In the view of some historians[ who? ], the pre-Socratic Athenians saw science, political tradition, culture and religion as not easily distinguishable, but as all part of the same body of knowledge and wisdom available to a community.

Approaches to others

Adherents of particular religions deal with the differing doctrines and practices espoused by other religions or by other religious denominations in a variety of ways.

Exclusivism

People with exclusivist beliefs typically explain other beliefs either as in error, or as corruptions or counterfeits of the true faith. This approach is a fairly consistent feature among smaller new religious movements that often rely on doctrine that claims a unique revelation by the founders or leaders, and considers it a matter of faith that the "correct" religion has a monopoly on truth. All three major Abrahamic monotheistic religions have passages in their holy scriptures that attest to the primacy of the scriptural testimony, and indeed monotheism itself is often[ quantify ] vouched[ by whom? ] as an innovation characterized specifically by its explicit rejection of earlier polytheistic faiths.

Some exclusivist faiths incorporate a specific element of proselytization. This is a strongly-held belief in the Christian tradition which follows the doctrine of the Great Commission, and is less emphasized by the Islamic faith where the Quranic edict "There shall be no compulsion in religion" (2:256) is often quoted as a justification for toleration of alternative beliefs. The Jewish tradition does not actively seek out converts.

Exclusivism correlates with conservative, fundamentalist, and orthodox approaches of many religions, while pluralistic and syncretist approaches either explicitly downplay or reject the exclusivist tendencies within a religion.[ citation needed ]

Inclusivism

People with inclusivist beliefs recognize some truth in all faith systems, highlighting agreements and minimizing differences. This attitude is sometimes associated[ by whom? ] with Interfaith dialogue or with the Christian Ecumenical movement, though in principle such attempts at pluralism are not necessarily inclusivist and many actors in such interactions (for example, the Roman Catholic Church) still hold to exclusivist dogma while participating in inter-religious organizations.

Explicitly inclusivist religions include many that are associated with the New Age movement, as well as modern reinterpretations of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Bahá'í Faith considers it doctrine that there is truth in all faith-systems.

Pluralism

People with pluralist beliefs make no distinction between faith systems, viewing each one as valid within a particular culture. Examples include:

  • Extracts from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Sikh Holy Scriptures), "There is only the One Supreme Lord God; there is no other at all" (Pannaa 45). "By His Power the Vedas and the Puranas exist, and the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions. By His Power all deliberations exist." (Pannaa 464). "Some call Him, 'Ram, Ram', and some call Him, 'Khudaa-i'. Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allaah'. ||1|| He is the Cause of causes, the Generous Lord. He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us amen." (Pannaa 885).

Syncretism

People with syncretistic views blend the views of a variety of different religions or traditional beliefs into a unique fusion which suits their particular experiences and contexts (see eclecticism). Unitarian Universalism exemplifies a syncretistic faith.

Adherence

Typical reasons for adherence to religion include the following:

Psychologist James Alcock also summarizes a number of apparent benefits which reinforce religious belief. These include prayer appearing to account for successful resolution of problems, "a bulwark against existential anxiety and fear of annihilation," an increased sense of control, companionship with one's deity, a source of self-significance, and group identity. [44]

Apostasy

Typical reasons for rejection of religion include:

Systems

An ideology is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be religious, philosophical, political, ideological, or a combination of these. Philosopher Jonathan Glover says that beliefs are always part of a belief system, and that tenanted belief systems are difficult for the tenants to completely revise or reject. [49] [50] [ need quotation to verify ]

Perspectives

A collective belief is referred to when people speak of what "we" believe when this is not simply elliptical for what "we all" believe. [51]

Sociologist Émile Durkheim wrote of collective beliefs and proposed that they, like all "social facts", "inhered in" social groups as opposed to individual persons. Durkheim's discussion of collective belief, though suggestive, is relatively obscure. [52]

Philosopher Margaret Gilbert (1942- ) has offered a related account in terms of the joint commitment of a number of persons to accept a certain belief as a body. According to this account, individuals who together collectively believe something need not personally believe it themselves. Gilbert's work on the topic has stimulated a developing literature among philosophers. One question that has arisen is whether and how philosophical accounts of belief in general need to be sensitive to the possibility of collective belief.

Philosopher Jonathan Glover warns that belief systems are like whole boats in the water; it is extremely difficult to alter them all at once (for example, it may be too stressful, or people may maintain their biases without realizing it). Snipa.JPG
Philosopher Jonathan Glover warns that belief systems are like whole boats in the water; it is extremely difficult to alter them all at once (for example, it may be too stressful, or people may maintain their biases without realizing it).

Jonathan Glover (1941- ) believes that he and other philosophers ought to play some role in starting dialogues between people with deeply-held, opposing beliefs, especially if there is risk of violence. Glover also believes that philosophy can offer insights about beliefs that would be relevant to such dialogue.

Glover suggests that beliefs have to be considered holistically, and that no belief exists in isolation in the mind of the believer. Each belief always implicates and relates to other beliefs. [49] Glover provides the example of a patient with an illness who returns to a doctor, but the doctor says that the prescribed medicine is not working. At that point, the patient has a great deal of flexibility in choosing what beliefs to keep or reject: the patient could believe that the doctor is incompetent, that the doctor's assistants made a mistake, that the patient's own body is unique in some unexpected way, that Western medicine is ineffective, or even that Western science is entirely unable to discover truths about ailments. [49]

Glover maintains that any person can continue to hold any belief if they would really like to [49] (for example, with help from ad hoc hypotheses). One belief can be held fixed, and other beliefs will be altered around it. Glover warns that some beliefs may not be entirely explicitly believed (for example, some people may not realize they have racist belief-systems adopted from their environment as a child). Glover believes that people tend to first realize that beliefs can change, and may be contingent on their upbringing, around age 12 or 15. [49]

Glover emphasizes that beliefs are difficult to change. He says that one may try to rebuild one's beliefs on more secure foundations (axioms), like building a new house, but warns that this may not be possible. Glover offers the example of René Descartes, saying: "[Descartes] starts off with the characteristic beliefs of a 17th-century Frenchman; he then junks the lot, he rebuilds the system, and somehow it looks a lot like the beliefs of a 17th-century Frenchman." To Glover, belief systems are not like houses but are instead like boats. As Glover puts it: "Maybe the whole thing needs rebuilding, but inevitably at any point you have to keep enough of it intact to keep floating." [49]

Glover's final message is that if people talk about their beliefs, they may find more deep, relevant, philosophical ways in which they disagree (e.g., less obvious beliefs, or more-deeply-held beliefs). Glover thinks that people often manage to find agreements and consensus through philosophy. He says that at the very least, if people do not convert each other, they will hold their own beliefs more openmindedly and will be less likely to go to war over conflicting beliefs. [49] [53]

The British philosopher Stephen Law (1960-) has described some belief systems (including belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, and alien abduction) as "claptrap" and said that such belief-systems can "draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap [...] if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again". [54]

See also

Notes

  1. Primmer, Justin (2018), "Belief", in Primmer, Justin (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford, CA: The Metaphysics Research Lab, retrieved 19 September 2008
  2. Compare: – "The 'mind-body problem', for example, so central to philosophy of mind, is in part the question of whether and how a purely physical organism can have beliefs." Retrieved 01 July 2016.
  3. Bell, V.; Halligan, P.W.; Ellis, H.D. (2006). "A Cognitive Neuroscience of Belief". In Halligan, Peter W.; Aylward, Mansel (eds.). The Power of Belief: Psychological Influence on Illness, Disability, and Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-853010-7.
  4. Baker, Lynne Rudder (1989). Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN   978-0-691-07320-0.
  5. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army (2012). Information Operations. Joint Publication 3–13. Joint Doctrine Support Division, Suffolk, VA. p. 22.
  6. Oxford Dictionaries – definition published by OUP [Retrieved 2015-08-09]
  7. http://www.friesian.com/knowledg.htm – 2007, 2008 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.
  8. Gettier, E.L. (1963). "Is justified true belief knowledge?". Analysis . 23 (6): 121–123. doi:10.1093/analys/23.6.121. JSTOR   3326922.
  9. Goldman, A.I. (1967). "A causal theory of knowing". The Journal of Philosophy . 64 (12): 357–372. doi:10.2307/2024268. JSTOR   2024268.
  10. The received view holds it that Plato's theory presents knowledge as remembering eternal truths and justification reawakens memory, see Fine, G. (2003). "Introduction". Plato on Knowledge and Forms: Selected Essays. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 5–7. ISBN   978-0-19-924558-1.
  11. Chisholm, Roderick (1982). "Knowledge as Justified True Belief". The Foundations of Knowing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN   978-0-8166-1103-4.
  12. Nozick, Robert. (1981). Philosophical explanations. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN   0674664485. OCLC   7283862.
  13. Bernecker, Sven; Dretske, Fred (2000). Knowledge. Readings in contemporary epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN   978-0-19-875261-5.
  14. Paul Boghossian (2007), Fear of Knowledge: Against relativism and constructivism, Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, ISBN   978-0-19-923041-9 , Chapter 2, p. 15.
  15. 1 2 3 Wyer, R.S., & Albarracin, D. (2005). Belief formation, organization, and change: Cognitive and motivational influences. In D. Albarracin, B.T. Johnson, & M.P. Zanna, The Handbook of Attitudes (273–322). New Yor: Psychology Press.
  16. Gelman, Andrew; Park, David; Shor, Boris; Bafumi, Joseph; Cortina, Jeronimo (2008). Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do. Princeton University Press. ISBN   978-0-691-13927-2.
  17. Argyle, Michael (1997). The Psychology of Religious Behaviour, Belief and Experience. London: Routledge. p. 25. ISBN   978-0-415-12330-3. Religion, in most cultures, is ascribed, not chosen.
  18. Hoffer, Eric (2002). The True Believer. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics. ISBN   978-0-06-050591-2.
  19. Kilbourne, Jane; Pipher, Mary (2000). Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. Free Press. ISBN   978-0-684-86600-0.
  20. see Kumkale & Albarracin, 2004
  21. Rothschild, Babette (2000). The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN   978-0-393-70327-6.
  22. Rowley, Anna (2007). Leadership Therapy: Inside the Mind of Microsoft. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 69. ISBN   978-1-4039-8403-6.
  23. 1 2 Wyer, R.S. (1970). "Quantitative prediction of belief and opinion change: A further test of a subjective probability model". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 16 (4): 559–570. doi:10.1037/h0030064.
  24. 1 2 Wyer, R.S.; Goldberg, L. (1970). "A probabilistic analysis of the relationships among beliefs and attitudes". Psychological Review. 77 (2): 100–120. doi:10.1037/h0028769.
  25. Price, H.H. (1965). "Belief 'In' and Belief 'That'". Religious Studies. 1 (1): 5–27. doi:10.1017/S0034412500002304.
  26. MacIntosh, J.J. (1994). "Belief-in Revisited: A Reply to Williams". Religious Studies. 30 (4): 487–503. doi:10.1017/S0034412500023131.
  27. Macintosh, Jack. "Belief-in". The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. p. 86. ISBN   978-0-19-926479-7.
  28. Peter Taylor-Gooby – Economic Beliefs and Social Policy Behaviour Economic and Social Research Council (Economic Beliefs and behaviour research programme) [Retrieved 2015-08-09]
  29. R. Arena & A. Festré (1 January 2006). Knowledge, Beliefs and Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing 2006, 288 pages. ISBN   978-1-84720-153-9 . Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  30. L. Bortolotti (2010). Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs. OUP Oxford 2010, 299 pages, International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry. ISBN   978-0-19-920616-2.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  31. Tarski's Truth Definitions, LOTH Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  32. Introduction to Logic and to the Methodology of the Deductive Sciences" Alfred Tarski Dover 1995/41, Ch. I, § 2 Expressions containing variables—sentential and designatory functions and Ch. II On the Sentential Calculus in its entirety
  33. Delusions in the DSM 5 A blog by Lisa Bortolotti & Ema Sullivan-Bissett
  34. Huth, Edward J (1987). Medical Style & Format: An International Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. ISI Press. p. 264. ISBN   978-0-89495-063-6.
  35. Unknown. "What does religious belief mean?". www.definitions.net. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  36. Wittgenstein, Ludwig (2007). Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief. University of California Press. p. 53. ISBN   978-0-520-25181-6.
  37. Braithwaite, R.B. (1975). An empiricist's view of the nature of religious belief. Norwood Editions (Norwood, Pa.). ISBN   978-0-88305-955-5.
  38. "The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth". 27 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  39. Compare: "Roy Moore: 'We Have No Morality Without an Acknowledgment of God'". Christianity Today . 7 March 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  40. Miller, David Ian (15 February 2005). "Finding My Religion: Steve Georgiou on his faith and mentor, minimalist poet Robert Lax". SFGate. Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  41. Repa, J. Theodore (18 October 1998). "Building Community: The Marriage of Religion and Education". Archived from the original on 7 September 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  42. Note for example the concept of a cultural Christian.
  43. Larson, David B.; Susan S. Larson; Harold G. Koenig (October 2000). "Research Findings on Religious Commitment and Mental Health". Psychiatric Times. 17 (10). Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  44. Alcock, James (2018). "The God Engine". Skeptical Inquirer . 42 (5): 32–38.
  45. For example: Russell, Bertrand (1927). "Why I am Not a Christian". Archived from the original on 19 November 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  46. For example, some Muslims believe that women are inferior to men. Some Christians share this belief. At the time of the American Civil War of 1861–1865, many Southerners used passages from the Bible to justify race-based slavery. Certain campaigners have used the Christian religion as a reason to persecute and to deny the rights of homosexuals, on the basis that the Christian biblical God disapproves of homosexuality, and by implication of homosexuals. Compare http://www.godhatesfags.com
  47. Beauchamp, Philip (pseudonym of Jeremy Bentham) Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind, 1822, R. Carlile, London, at page 76: "Of all human antipathies, that which the believer in a God bears to the unbeliever is the fullest, the most unqualified, and the most universal"
  48. Faith is the commitment of one's consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof. When a person rejects reason as their standard of judgment, only one alternative standard allegedly remains to them: feelings. A mystic is a person who treats feelings as tools of cognition. Faith is the equation of feeling with knowledge. To practice the "virtue" of faith, one must (we are told) be willing to suspend one's sight and one's judgment; one must be willing to live with the unintelligible, with that which cannot be conceptualized or integrated into the rest of one's knowledge, and to induce a trance like illusion of understanding. One must allegedly be willing to repress one's critical faculty and hold it as one's guilt; one must be willing to drown any questions that rise in protest—to strangle any trust of reason convulsively seeking to assert its proper function as the protector of one's life and cognitive integrity. The presumed human need for self-esteem entails the need for a sense of control over reality—but no control is possible in a universe which, by one's own concession, contains the supernatural, the miraculous and the causeless, a universe in which one is at the mercy of ghosts and demons, in which one must deal, not with the unknown, but with the unknowable; no control is possible if a person proposes, but a ghost disposes; no control is possible if the universe is a haunted house. A person's life and self-esteem require that the object and concern of his or her consciousness be reality and this earth—but morality, people are taught, consists of scorning this earth and the world available to sensory perception, and of contemplating, instead, a "different" and "higher" reality, a realm inaccessible to reason and incommunicable in language, but attainable by revelation, by special dialectical processes, by that superior state of intellectual lucidity known to Zen-Buddhists as "No-Mind," or by death. A person's life and self-esteem require that this person take pride in their power to think, pride in their power to live—but morality, people are taught, holds pride, and specifically intellectual pride, as the gravest of sins. Virtue begins, people are taught, with humility: with the recognition of the helplessness, the smallness, the impotence of one's mind. A person's life and self-esteem purportedly require the person to be loyal to their values, loyal to their mind and its judgments, loyal to their life—but the essence of morality, people are taught, consists of self-sacrifice: the sacrifice of one's mind to some higher authority, and the sacrifice of one's values to whoever may claim to require it. A sacrifice, it is necessary to remember, means the surrender of a higher value in favor of a lower value or of a nonvalue. If one gives up that which one does not value in order to obtain that which one does value—or if one gives up a lesser value in order to obtain a greater one—this is not a sacrifice, but a gain. Remember further that all of a person's values allegedly exist in a hierarchy; people value some things more than others; and, to the extent that a person is rational, the hierarchical order of the person's values is rational: that is, the person values things in proportion to their importance in serving this person's life and well-being. That which is inimical to their life and well-being, that which is inimical to their nature and needs as a living being, the person disvalues. Conversely, one of the characteristics of mental illness is a distorted value structure; the neurotic does not value things according to their objective merit, in relation to the person's nature and needs; they frequently value the very things that will lead them to self-destruction. Judged by objective standards, they are engaged in a chronic process of self-sacrifice. But if sacrifice is a virtue, it is not the neurotic but the rational person who must be “cured”. They must learn to do violence to their own rational judgment—to reverse the order of their value hierarchy—to surrender that which their mind has chosen as the good—to turn against and invalidate their own consciousness.Waldau, Paul (2001). The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals (American Academy of Religion Books). Oxford University Press, US. ISBN   978-0-19-514571-7.
  49. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Jonathan Glover on systems of belief", Philosophy Bites Podcast, Oct 9 2011
  50. Elizabeth A. Minton, Lynn R. Khale (2014). Belief Systems, Religion, and Behavioral Economics. New York: Business Expert Press LLC. ISBN   978-1-60649-704-3.
  51. Dancy, Jonathan (2016) [2014]. A Companion to Epistemology. Just the Facts101 (2 ed.). Content Technologies Inc. ISBN   9781478400028 . Retrieved 30 April 2019. A collective belief is referred to when people speak of what 'we' believe when this is not simply elliptical for what 'we all' believe.
  52. Dancy, Jonathan (2016) [2014]. A Companion to Epistemology. Just the Facts101 (2 ed.). Content Technologies Inc. ISBN   9781478400028 . Retrieved 30 April 2019. Sociologist Émile Durkheim wrote of collective beliefs and proposed that they, like all 'social facts', 'inhered in' social groups as opposed to individual persons. Durkheim's discussion of collective belief, though suggestive, is relatively obscure.
  53. 'Philosophy, Beliefs, and Conflict' , JonathanGlover.co.uk
  54. New Scientist (magazine), 11 June 2011 A field guide to bullshit | New Scientist - "Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap. Belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, alien abductions – these are examples of intellectual black holes. As you approach them, you need to be on your guard because if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again."

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. Another definition provided is the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist."

Faith and rationality are two ideologies that exist in varying degrees of conflict or compatibility. Rationality is based on reason or facts. Faith is belief in inspiration, revelation, or authority. The word faith sometimes refers to a belief that is held with lack of reason or evidence, a belief that is held in spite of or against reason or evidence, or it can refer to belief based upon a degree of evidential warrant.

Faith, derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept. In the context of religion, one can define faith as confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief. Religious people often think of faith as confidence based on a perceived degree of warrant, while others who are more skeptical of religion tend to think of faith as simply belief without evidence.

Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions". Philosophical discussions on such topics date from ancient times, and appear in the earliest known texts concerning philosophy. The field is related to many other branches of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

The theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability. Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (properly) holds a belief.

Alvin Plantinga American Christian philosopher

Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher who works primarily in the fields of philosophy of religion, epistemology, and logic.

Philosophical skepticism is a philosophical school of thought that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge. Skeptic philosophers from different historical periods adopted different principles and arguments, but their ideology can be generalized as either (1) the denial of possibility of all knowledge or (2) the suspension of judgement due to the inadequacy of evidence.

The Gettier problem, in the field of epistemology, is a landmark philosophical problem concerning our understanding of descriptive knowledge. Attributed to American philosopher Edmund Gettier, Gettier-type counterexamples challenge the long-held justified true belief (JTB) account of knowledge. The JTB account holds that knowledge is equivalent to justified true belief; if all three conditions are met of a given claim, then we have knowledge of that claim. In his 1963 three-page paper titled "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?", Gettier attempts to illustrate by means of two counterexamples that there are cases where individuals can have a justified, true belief regarding a claim but still fail to know it because the reasons for the belief, while justified, turn out to be false. Thus, Gettier claims to have shown that the JTB account is inadequate; that it does not account for all of the necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge.

Coherentism is the name given to a few philosophical theories in modern epistemology.

Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths. The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means "faith-ism".

In philosophy, a distinction is often made between two different kinds of knowledge: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. Knowledge by acquaintance is obtained through a direct causal (experience-based) interaction between a person and the object that that person is perceiving.

Evidentialism is a thesis in epistemology which states that one is justified to believe something if and only if that person has evidence which supports his or her belief. Evidentialism is therefore a thesis about which beliefs are justified and which are not.

The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.

Reformed epistemology

In the philosophy of religion, Reformed epistemology is a school of philosophical thought concerning the nature of knowledge (epistemology) as it applies to religious beliefs. The central proposition of Reformed epistemology is that beliefs can be justified by more than evidence alone, contrary to the positions of evidentialism, which argues that while belief other than through evidence may be beneficial, it violates some epistemic duty. Central to Reformed epistemology is the proposition that belief in God may be "properly basic" and not need to be inferred from other truths to be rationally warranted. William Lane Craig describes Reformed epistemology as "One of the most significant developments in contemporary Religious Epistemology ... which directly assaults the evidentialist construal of rationality."

Bad faith

Bad faith is double mindedness or double heartedness in duplicity, fraud, or deception. It may involve intentional deceit of others, or self-deception.

Agnostic theism, agnostotheism or agnostitheism is the philosophical view that encompasses both theism and agnosticism. An agnostic theist believes in the existence of a god or gods, but regards the basis of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the god or gods that they believe in.

Intersubjective verifiability is the capacity of a concept to be readily and accurately communicated between different individuals ("intersubjectively"), and to be reproduced under varying circumstances for the purposes of verification. It is a core principle of empirical, scientific investigation.

Projectivism in philosophy involves attributing ('projecting') qualities to an object as if those qualities actually belong to it. It is a theory for how people interact with the world, and has been applied in both ethics and general philosophy. There are several forms of projectivism.

The argument from religious experience is an argument for the existence of God. It holds that the best explanation for religious experiences is that they constitute genuine experience or perception of a divine reality. Various reasons have been offered for and against accepting this contention.