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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 8535
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Aiming at Truth: Doxastic Vs. Epistemic Goals
  Author(s):  H. Vahid
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Philosophical Studies
  Vol.:  131
  Year:  2006
  Pages:   303-335
  Supported by:  IPM
  Abstract:
Belief is generally thought to be the primary cognitive state representing the world as be-ing a certain way, regulating our behavior and guiding us around the world. It is thus re-garded as being constitutively linked with the truth of its content. This feature of belief has been famously captured in the thesis that believing is a purposive state aiming at truth. It has however proved to be notoriously difficult to explain what the thesis really involves. In this paper, I begin by critically examining a number of recent attempts to un-pack the metaphor. I shall then proceed to highlight an error that seems to cripple most of these attempts. This involves the confusion between, what I call, doxastic and epistemic goals. Finally, having offered my own positive account of the aim-of-belief thesis, I shall underline its deflationary nature by distinguishing between aiming at truth and hitting that target (truth). I end by comparing the account with certain prominent inflationary theories of the nature of belief.


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