PHIL Seminar: “Mindless Beliefs”, Umut Baysan, 3:30PM March 24 (EN)

Mindless Beliefs

By Umut Baysan (Oxford, Philosophy)

Date: Thursday March 24, 2022
Time: 15.30-17.00

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Abstract: If group entities such as companies and organizations could have beliefs and desires, what would that tell us about the nature of beliefs and desires? I argue that it would show that beliefs, desires, and more generally propositional attitudes are not mental states. In a nutshell, the argument is that if propositional attitudes are mental states, then only minded beings could have them; but there are reasons to think that some non-minded beings could bear propositional attitudes. To illustrate this, I appeal to cases of genuine group intentionality. I argue that these are cases in which some group entities bear propositional attitudes, but they are not subjects of mental states. Although propositional attitudes are not mental states, I propose that they are typically co-instantiated with mental states. In an attempt to explain this co-instantiation, I suggest that propositional attitudes of minded beings are typically realized by mental states.
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