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Conférence GRIN Talk – Miriam McCormick (University of Richmond)

Miriam McCormick (University of Richmond)

Date: 24 avril 2020, 10h -12h.
Salle/Room: 422, Stone Castle, (2910 Édouard-Montpetit, Université de Montréal)

Résumé/Abstract: “Belief as Emotion”

It is commonly held that (i) beliefs are evidence-sensitive and (ii) beliefs are connected to actions in reliable and predictable ways. Given such a view, many argue that if a mental state fails to respond to evidence or doesn’t result in the kind of behavior typical or expected of belief, it is not a belief after all, but a different state. Yet, one finds seeming counter examples of resilient beliefs that fail to respond to evidence, or that do not connect to action in the way we would expect them to. I offer a view of belief that does not force us to exclude states as real beliefs that we pre-reflectively think of as beliefs, and that does not require us to “outsource” the work belief seems to do to other mental states. Rather than assume that belief is a purely cognitive state, I propose that we view belief as a type of emotion where emotions are understood as including cognitive and non-cognitive elements. Thinking of beliefs as emotions can help us make sense of resilient or recalcitrant beliefs, of seeming breakdowns between belief and actions, and offer insight into the phenomena of persistent disagreement and self-deception.