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Beliefs and Sentences in the Head

Ken Warmbrōd
Synthese
Vol. 79, No. 2 (May, 1989), pp. 201-230
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20116643
Page Count: 30
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Beliefs and Sentences in the Head
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Abstract

It is argued that de dicto and de re beliefs are attitudes towards syntactically structured entities (sentences) in the head. In order to identify the content of a de dicto or de re belief, we must be able to match causal relations of belief states to natural language inferences. Such match-ups provide sufficient empirical justification for regarding those causal relations as syntactic transformations, that is, inferences. But only syntactically structured entities are capable of enjoying such inferential relations. Hence, de dicto and de re beliefs must be syntactically structured. Given that beliefs are also brain states, it follows that they are sentences in the brain. The argument presented here is shown to be an improvement over similar arguments advanced by Harman and Fodor.

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