Leaving Belief Behind

  • Stephen P. Stich
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 4)


The term belief has been widely used in cognitive theorizing and, as Owen Egan´s useful review makes clear, it has been used with different meanings by different theorists. In Egan´s review the notion of belief as a propositional attitude emerges as central. This is as it should be, for that, near enough, is the notion of belief that is central to commonsense psychology (or “folk psychology” as it is now fashionable to call it) . It is in virtue of being embedded in a commonsense theory that the word belief gets its ordinary meaning (Stich, 1982, 1983) . Thus, when theorists use the word with some quite different meaning in mind they are not, properly speaking, talking about beliefs at all.


Cognitive Theorist Cognitive State Propositional Attitude Propositional Content Folk Psychology 
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  1. Stich, S. P. (1982). On the ascription of content. In A. Woodfield (Ed.), Thought and object. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Stich, S. P. (1983). From folk psychology to cognitive science: The case against belief. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen P. Stich
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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