Tamar Gendler proposed a distinction between the concept of "belief" and "alief", "belief" being the more commonly held, intuitive conception of a certain type of propositional attitude and "alief" being a more subconscious or "primitive" mental state. She argues that, for example, while someone might have a belief that standing on top of a glass floor above the Grand Canyon is safe, they usually have a more primitive alief that they are very high above the ground and it is not safe for them to be standing there.

Since her proposal of the distinction, has there been any neuroimaging or other neuroscientific techniques implemented in a study to outline if there is a neuro-physiological difference between belief and alief? She argues that alief usually involves behavioral response patterns (anxiety being the example used in the Grand Canyon example) but has there been any research done to show any other distinctions between the neurological processes that play a role in belief?

  • $\begingroup$ I felt like "belief" would be an appropriate tag for this question but it is not already a tag and I don't have the reputation to create one. There wasn't a meta question on that specific tag creation already, but if a moderator or other regular user of this site thinks that "belief" doesn't make for a good tag then I would happily make a question on meta to have the discussion. I also wasn't sure about using the "neuroimaging" tag because it's a reference request and not an actual question about neuroimaging but if the consensus is that it falls under that tag then I don't object. $\endgroup$
    – Not_Here
    Feb 24 '18 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ I have added neuroimaging for you as you are asking about neuroimaging studies. I believe that a tag for belief would not be a good tag for this site as generally, questions surrounding beliefs can be opinion-orientated which are off-topic on this site. This to me is one extremely rare exception to that. However, I would be interested in what others may say in meta. $\endgroup$ Feb 24 '18 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers Belief is one of the most ubiquitous and fundamental mental states that humans experience throughout our daily lives; if psychology and neuroscience aren't the subjects best equipped to study the science and phenomenology of belief then what discipline is? $\endgroup$
    – Not_Here
    Jan 13 '21 at 0:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.