Neither Fish nor Fowl: Implicit Attitudes as Patchy Endorsements

Noûs 49 (4):800-823 (2014)
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Abstract

Implicit attitudes are mental states that appear sometimes to cause agents to act in ways that conflict with their considered beliefs. Implicit attitudes are usually held to be mere associations between representations. Recently, however, some philosophers have suggested that they are, or are very like, ordinary beliefs: they are apt to feature in properly inferential processing. This claim is important, in part because there is good reason to think that the vocabulary in which we make moral assessments of ourselves and of others is keyed to folk psychological concepts, like ‘belief’, and not to concepts that feature only in scientific psychology: if implicit attitudes are beliefs there is a prima facie case for thinking that they can serve as the basis for particular kinds of moral assessment. In this paper I argue that while implicit attitudes have propositional structure, their sensitivity and responsiveness to other mental representations is too patchy and fragmented for them to properly be considered beliefs. Instead, they are a sui generis kind of mental state, a state I dub patchy endorsements

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Author's Profile

Neil Levy
Macquarie University

References found in this work

Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
Recreative Minds: Imagination in Philosophy and Psychology.Gregory Currie & Ian Ravenscroft - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. Edited by Christoph Hoerl.
Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs.Lisa Bortolotti - 2009 - Oxford University Press. Edited by K. W. M. Fulford, John Sadler, Stanghellini Z., Morris Giovanni, Bortolotti Katherine, Broome Lisa & Matthew.

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