Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do you think your beliefs are true?


No, you’re not weird or dogmatic. It’s just what it is to have a belief that you think yours are true. If you didn’t think they were true, they wouldn’t be your beliefs, now would you?

21 comments:

Gordon Knight said...

I believe each of my individual beliefs are true when considered individually, but I also believe that I have some false beliefs. The trick is to figure out which is which. Cartesian soul searching is a time consuming effort.

J said...

Prove you have something like beliefs. Do you believe you are hungry, when you choose between Taco Hut, and Burger Queen?? No. You are hungry, and respond.

Belief, like freedom, is just a name for nothing left to lose.

normajean said...

J, that language game mumbo jumbo isn't clear. Do you understand what you've written.

normajean said...

I'm wondering what these terms are being applied to.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Someone who says he "has beliefs" speaks mumbo jumbo. At least there's a story to tell, a long, cognitive story

Anyway truths are true regardless of someone's supposed belief that they are true, or not. Basic logic depends upon that view--a valid conclusion from set of premises does not hinge on belief. That doesn't mean however the logical forms or Truth or mathematical entities float in some platonic abode.

The Belief chat , typical of believers, doesn't go very far.
For that matter, Clifford (who Reppert linked to previously) provides a good introduction to the problems of belief and evidence.

Gordon Knight said...

J" I am confused, what do you mean when you say that "anyone who says they have beliefs speaks mumbo jumbo"
Don't you have any beliefs? Apparently you do, for you write, "
"truths are true regardless of anyone's supposed belief..." which I assume, is something you believe. I guess you also believe other things. Is it just the word? what if we removed the dispositional belief talk and said "judgement" do you think people make judgements about what is true or false? I am really confused.. really.
You mention Clifford, but I don't think Clifford ever meant to deny that there are such things as beliefs.

J said...

Prime numbers have exactly two divisors: 1 and the number itself. Modus ponens is P-> Q/ P /Therefore, Q. Not a matter of belief.The terms/nomenclature relating to mathematical/logical tautologies could theoretically be changed, but relation objective.

Re evidentiary reasoning and Clifford, I will agree people talk about beliefs of some sort, but that's sort of colloquial, and pre-cognitive. There is data of some sort--say in a report--and it presents facts, or reported facts, probabilities. Your belief really doesn't matter, except in Clifford's sense, that it's foolish, and indeed immoral to believe (or assent as I think Dewey said) to claims/assertions that have no real factual support . Maria might believe in astrology, and you believe in the literal reading of the Book of Revelation. Yet that belief itself does not prove anything.

Can you point to your belief, like in some pantry in your brain? Ich denke nicht. We may be forced to use the term--though Quine and the behaviorists did not feel compelled to do so.

normajean said...

J, can you point to a logical relation, moral value, or truth bearer? I can't see that you could. It seems that certain beliefs are justified without the argument. I'm with Plantinga here.

James A. Gibson said...

I'm at a school with a psychology department that is still full with behaviorists. Sometimes, I hear undergraduates say things like 'J', such as, "Can you point to a belief?" Sometimes they push verificationist language: "I know what mental state someone has because I can verify it under such and such scanning device." But why not go functionalist? Look, let's apply the same standard of evaluation to something else. Can you point to a number? Let's not confuse those with numerals. And since we're trying to side with Quine here, let's not forget Quine accepted sets toward the end of his life. But I haven't the slightest idea of how to point at an abstract object. What do you think J? Are there sets?

Victor Reppert said...

I was myself reminded of the Churchlands' eliminative materialism when I read J's comments.

J said...

I'm not to the Churchlands, yet. Humans make something like choices and decisions (or appear to--illusionism a possibility), yet obviously their own biological and neurological hardware plays a part--an important part--in determining those decisions. I don't think we defend innate ideas, or a priori knowledge, except in a vague sense of "parameter settings".

My view in regards to the "belief chat" and evidentiary reasoning more a type of compatibilism---we receive data--stimulus, information--and make decisions, predictions. Observation and conditioning do matter, greatly, but humans are not merely primates. I read old BF from time to time: though BF 's operant conditioning leaves much to be desired, though I don't believe Chomsky while important really refuted the behaviorist schema.

Gordon Knight said...

if my belief does not matter, then i must HAVE a belief.

This does sound eliminativist to me. Right now I am judging
"it is cloudy outside" isn't that an expression of belief? You cannot say its a "fact" because i might be mistaken. If I don't have beliefs then what do I "have" that is either true or false.

"I believe there are no beliefs"

J said...

Right now I am judging
"it is cloudy outside" isn't that an expression of belief?


You assert that--really, you are implying law of excluded middle--it is either cloudy, or not (assuming that can be parsed out. Is one big cumulus enough to make it cloudy?). Since we have no way to confirm, we should call it an unconfirmed assertion, not really belief. When people use belief they usually mean like a hunch: I believe OJ was guilty. But without knowing the facts you don't know. So in effect it's pretty meaningless.

But saying radiocarbon dating confirms the fossil to be 50,000 years old or something is not the same as a belief-hunch. The r-c dating has been proven to work in many experiments. Even if we grant the statements's not necessarily true (in all possible worlds, yada yada)--maybe there will be some evidence showing r-c dating at times is wrong--it's nearly certain that the fossil approximates a certain date close to 50000 years ago. A statement of fact is not merely belief.

normajean said...

I fail to see how being governed by a logical law precludes a person from believing.

J said...

Because the LOTEM is true, definable, discrete, but your guestimate, aka "belief" is something like a vague impulse in your corpus callosum. (and no that doesn't mean LOTEM floats in JHVH's mind)

normajean said...

So this "vague impulse" is the "belief." I prefer that old time folk psychology...

J said...

I'm not a neurologist. But it's rather more plausible that what we take to be "belief" relates to, and indeed depends upon brain states--even if the cogsci people have not nailed everything down--, and involves, cognition, perception, stimulus, etc. than the alternative: a cartesian dualism, with the Mind-ghost floating above the brain, involving some unknown, occult connection to your neurology (see Padre Feser's site however for the Argument ad Caspar). Mind-events are brain events, or reality is a very strange place

normajean said...

Actually, the more I read about things like neuroplasticity, the more insurmountable things look for eliminativists and her ilk.

normajean said...

If your paradigm is naturalism, then undoubtedly reality is a very strange place.

J said...

Dualism, at least of the substance sort (ie involving a soul which exists apart from neurology) seems substantially more bizarre than some type of physicalism. I didn't say it was impossible, but viewing mind as a brain function squares with the science (and with Bill Ockham). That doesn't mean that human brains are not unique, even anomalous, or malleable to some extent. My view closer to monism than naturalism anyway.