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Laws, Mind, and Free Will$
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Steven Horst

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015257

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015257.001.0001

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Belief-Desire Psychologies

Belief-Desire Psychologies

(p.226) (p.227) 12 Belief-Desire Psychologies
Laws, Mind, and Free Will

Steven Horst

The MIT Press

This chapter's main focus is the examination of several kinds of attempts to craft scientifically rigorous psychological theories that make use of the intentional notions “belief” and “desire.” Commonsense belief–desire explanations of behavior may well be based on models that involve implicit or explicit generalizations, but these lack the special regimentation and rigor which are characteristic of scientific laws. Arguably, the notion of “natural laws” was invented only during the seventeenth century, and if “folk psychology” is supposed to be something that is shared by scientific and pre-scientific humans, it cannot make use of a notion of law which is of such recent vintage. The question of whether there are laws at the level of intentional states can be settled only by looking, not at the most widespread form of intentional explanation, but at the best forms we can come up with.

Keywords:   psychological theories, intentional notions, belief, desire, belief–desire explanations, behavior, scientific laws

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