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|Title: ||Mindful Belief|
|Authors: ||Toribio, Josefa|
|Issue Date: ||2002|
|Citation: ||Toribio, J., “Mindful Belief”. Theoria. A Swedish Journal of Philosophy. Volume 68, Part 3, 2002, pp. 224-249.|
|Publisher: ||Department of Philosophy. Stockholm University|
|Abstract: ||It is sometimes said that humans are unlike other animals in at least one crucial respect. We do not simply form beliefs, desires and other mental
states, but are capable of caring about our mental states in a distinctive way.
We can care about the justification of our beliefs, and about the desirability of
our desires. This kind of observation is usually made in discussions of free
will and moral responsibility. But it has profound consequences, or so I shall
argue, for our conception of the very nature of beliefs and other mental states.
Suitably developed, it allows us to draw a line between two distinct ways in
which a creature may possess a belief, represent a scene, and fall into error.
The first way (which I shall call the 'mindless' way) involves little more than
an encoding of information in some way designed to guide appropriate
response. This is the common heritage of humans, and many other animals.
The second way (which I shall call the 'mindful' way) requires that the
creature be capable in addition of a special kind of second-order reflection,
and (importantly) be expert at detecting the kinds of situation in which such
reflection is called for. The differences between these two ways of 'believing
that P' are sufficiently deep and significant to warrant (or so I claim) our
treating them as two distinct classes of mental states. For it is only courtesy of
the second layer of complexity, I shall argue, that it becomes proper to hold
someone accountable for their beliefs or other mental states, and it is this fact
of (something like) accountability that in turn raises the most significant
challenge for philosophical attempts to give naturalized accounts of meaning,
belief, and mentality.|
|Appears in Collections:||Philosophy research publications|
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