Believe It or Not: On Multiplying Classes of Belief-like States

James Robert Thompson


This paper explores whether it is justified to add any new taxa concerning informational states to our psychological taxonomy. Such exploration will not lead to a straightforward decision between remaining steadfast with the taxonomic status quo and adding only one new taxon. A careful analysis of when one would be warranted in positing a new taxon for informational states will reveal similarly compelling reasons to posit all sorts of additional taxa. As an antidote to such proliferation, I suggest a reinforcement of traditional taxonomies of the mental by allowing belief and a range of extant taxa to play their requisite explanatory roles, thereby obviating the need for the postulation of any novel taxa.


folk psychology; belief; alief

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