On Belief: Aims, Norms, and Functions

Dissertation, Lingnan University (2018)
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Abstract

In this dissertation, I explore whether teleological, normative, and functional theories of belief each have the resources to answer three central questions about the nature and normativity of belief. These questions are: (i) what are beliefs, (ii), why do we have them, and (iii) how should we interpret doxastic correctness--the principle that it is correct to believe that p if and only if p? I argue that teleological and normative theories fail to adequately address these questions, and I develop and defend a functional alternative. In addition, I attempt to extend my functional theory of belief to account for another, related attitude: suspended belief.

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C. J. Atkinson
Lingnan University

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