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Religion, Belief and Unbelief

A Psychological Study


Antoon Vergote

This book focuses attention on the central elements of human religious existence. Vergote's primary aim and viewpoint are clear: to examine empirically and to interpret dynamically the psychological factors at work in the field of religion. Vergote consistently adheres to the position that psychology is neither philosophy nor theology and that its task is not to explain religion. In this work he situates religion as a cultural fact and studies how persons orient themselves to it, positively and/or negatively. Rather than emphasise and juxtapose belief and unbelief as alternative positions, he sees them as threads of experiences interwoven throughout the human existence of persons and institutions. In this context he studies motivations and their ambivalences, religious experiences and their ambiguities, conflicts between religious belief and unbelief, and the various expressions and practices of religion.


Barbara Trybulec

, the discontinuity between a group and its members’ intentional states vanishes. If this is right, it seems that a group epistemic agency could be entirely explained in terms of mutually related individuals’ beliefs, hence the thesis of a group as a self-standing agent is seriously undermined. Yet, in


Barbara Trybulec

mutually related individuals’ beliefs, hence the thesis of a group as a self-standing agent is seriously undermined. Yet, in the last part of the paper I will show that this pessimistic conclusion is not inevitable. The group agency

Belief and Unbelief

Psychological perspectives


Edited by Jozef Corveleyn and Dirk Hutsebaut

Frederick Stoutland

Whereas the belief-desire model maintains that reasons for action either are or depend on reasons which consist in the agent's own beliefs and desires, I contend that reasons for action, whether taken normatively (as reasons to do something) or explanatorily, (as reasons for which agents act) are states of affairs. I defend this view by reference to non-deliberative responses to states of affairs agents encounter directly – stopping for a stop sign or answering a knock at the door, for instance–actions which I take to be common, to presuppose no specific attitudes on the part of agents, and to be basic to all action.


Stefanie Schnitzer Mills

Introduction The concept of Evil is something that rings familiar with virtually every culture across time and space. It seems to be a belief that is shared with some of our earliest ancestors – the idea of something so far removed from what we perceive as right and acceptable that simple terms

Rationality and Decision Making

From Normative Rules to Heuristics


Edited by Marek Hetmański

Rationality and Decision Making: From Normative Rules to Heuristics offers a broad overview of both classic and very recent discussions concerning rationality and strategies of individual and group decision making. They are considered from a methodological, ethical, sociological, historical, cultural as well as an evolutionary perspective. Decision making, both rational and irrational, is treated in its complexity as an algorithmic, heuristic and intuitive process. The volume analyzes the theoretical and practical aspects of decision making in individual intentional endeavors and group or institutionalized undertakings. The analyses are mostly theoretical but they also appeal to empirical studies, proposed by philosophers and cognitive scientists who have studied logical, cognitive, biological, social and evolutionary aspects of human rationality.

Contributors include María José Frápolli, Marek Hetmański, Jan F. Jacko, Artur Koterski, Agnieszka Lekka-Kowalik, Sofia Miguens, Ángeles J. Perona, Manueal de Pinedo, João Alberto Pinto, Krzysztof Polit, Marcin Rządeczka, Rui Sampaio da Silva, Joanna Sokołowska, Barbara Trybulec, Marcin Trybulec, Neftalí Villanueva, Monika Walczak, Jan Winkowski, Anna Wójtowicz, Jesús Zamora-Bonilla, and António Zilhão.


Garrett P.J. Epp


While the Wycliffite Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge famously condemns religious theatre as sinful idleness and ‘signs without deed,’ biblical drama has the potential to be highly productive, as a form of performative theology. Much like the meditative mode of affective piety, likewise common in the later Middle Ages, when undertaken seriously by or for those who believe in what it represents, the performance of biblical drama can create rather than merely represent theological meaning. This paper examines a variety of texts and performances, medieval and modern, in order to demonstrate how religious belief and theatrical make-believe can intertwine.

Marco Santambrogio

In order to know what a belief is, we need to know when it is appropriate to say that two subjects (or the same subject at two different times) believe(s) the same or entertain the same thought. This is not entirely straightforward. Consider for instance

1. Tom thinks that he himself is the smartest and Tim believes the same

2. In 2001, Bill believed that some action had to be taken to save the rain forest and today he believes the same.

What does Tim think? That he, Tim, is the smartest, or that Tom is? And what does Bill believe today? That action had to be taken in 2001 or that it has to be taken now? Both answers are intuitively acceptable. This has to be accounted for somehow.

Building on Mark Richard's work on tense, Scott Soames 1 claims that the substitutional interpretation of the quantifiers is unable to account for the intended meaning of such statements as (2) and the validity of some inferences involving them. I will show that his argument is not convincing. Not only does the substitutional interpretation fare no worse than the objectual one, but it seems to be able to avoid a problem which could be seriously damaging for any account of the sameness of thoughts based on the notion of structured proposition. In the first section, I state the problem allegedly raised by tensed belief ascriptions to the substitutional interpretation of the quantifiers. In the second, Soames's argument is shown to be flawed. I also show that the content of the that-clause in (2) is not faithfully represented by any kind of structured proposition. Finally, I show how the substitutional interpretation can handle all such statements as (1) and (2) and the inferences involving them.