Explaining Attitudes

Explaining Attitudes : A Practical Approach to the Mind

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Explaining Attitudes offers an important challenge to the dominant conception of belief found in the work of such philosophers as Dretske and Fodor. According to this dominant view beliefs, if they exist at all, are constituted by states of the brain. Lynne Rudder Baker rejects this view and replaces it with a quite different approach - practical realism. Seen from the perspective of practical realism, any argument that interprets beliefs as either brain states or states of immaterial souls is a 'non-starter'. Practical realism takes beliefs to be states of the whole persons, rather like states of health. What a person believes is determined by what a person would do, say and think in various circumstances. Thus beliefs and other attitudes are interwoven into an integrated, commonsensical conception of reality.show more

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"The discussions are always interesting, and at times profound and foundational. It provides a contrasting voice in an otherwise too one-sided discussion; everyone now working in the philosophy of mind should read it." Anne Jasp Jacobson, Canadian Philosophical Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Part I. The Standard View and its Problems: 1. Two conceptions of the attitudes; 2. Content and causation; 3. The myth of folk psychology; Part II. Explanation in Theory and Practice: 4. On standards of explanatory adequacy; 5. How beliefs explain; Part III. Practical Realism and its Prospects: 6. Belief without reification; 7. Mind and metaphysics; 8. Practical realism writ large.show more

About Lynne Rudder Baker

Lynne Rudder Baker is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Explaining Attitudes (Cambridge University Press, 1995), Persons and Bodies (Cambridge University Press, 2000), The Metaphysics of Everyday Life (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and Saving Belief (1987).show more

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