SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Aliefs are explanatory valuable
(Epistemology , English)

In her paper "Alief and Belief" from 2007 Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls "alief." She holds that this distinction is indispensable for explaining certain phenomena which involve "belief-behavior-mismatch" (Gendler 2007:5).

In this essay, I will argue for the usefulness of the new category of aliefs. First, I point out that the familiar cognitive attitudes of belief and imagination can't explain the behavior of a subject in belief-behavior mismatch cases. Second, I will show how Tamar Gendler argues that a new concept of cognitive states is necessary and third, how the concept of aliefs solves the dilemma of belief-behavior mismatch. Gendler presents different cases in which aliefs may play a role. I will characterize the two groups of cases with the help of everyday life examples, to show that aliefs are a necessary concept with an explanatory value for belief-behavior mismatch cases. In many cases a person consciously believes a certain proposition to be true, but nonetheless acts as if she actually believes it is false. In this cases a subject S judges a proposition P to be true, but in some way fails to act in accordance with P. This can be called a belief-behavior mismatch. It looks as if she considers the proposition to be true, but simultaneously acts as if she represents it as not true.

Tamar Gendler argues for a new category of cognitive states, which can explain such discordancy cases: the aliefs. Besides the conscious belief there is an alief, the content of which is of a different kind. It is representational and action guiding, but different from beliefs; It is possible to at the same time believe P to be true and to have an alief the content of which represents it as otherwise.

Chair: Max Timo Goetsch
Time: 16:00-16:30, 18 September 2019 (Wednesday)
Location: HS E.002

Julia Szensny 
(Universität Hamburg , Germany)

Bachelor Student of Philosophy

Testability and Meaning deco