Beliefs are Object-Attribute Associations of Varying Strength

In: Contemporary Pragmatism
Author: Jonathan Jong1
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Associative theories of cognitive representation begin with an ontology of two kinds of entities: concepts and associations. According to most social cognitive theories of attitudes, attitudes are object-evaluation associations of varying strength, where strength is defined in terms of accessibility. This paper proposes a cognitive account of belief such that beliefs are object-attribute associations of varying strength: thus, insofar as evaluative concepts are examples of attribute concepts, attitudes are a species of belief. This cognitive account of belief also denies that additional processes of endorsement—explicit or otherwise—are strictly required for an object-attribute association to count as a belief.

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