Belief: A Pragmatic Picture by Aaron Z. Zimmerman
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Overview: Have you ever called yourself a "pragmatist"? Have you ever wondered what that means? Aaron Zimmerman traces the origins of pragmatism to a theory of belief defended by the nineteenth-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain, and defends a novel take on the pragmatic theory in light of contemporary cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, and evolutionary biology. Pragmatists define their beliefs in terms of information poised to guide our more attentive, controlled actions. Zimmerman describes the consequences of this definition for the reader’s thinking on the relation between psychology and philosophy, the mind and brain, the nature of delusion, faith, pretence, racism, and more. He employs research on animal cognition to argue against the propositional attitude analysis of belief now popular among Anglo-American philosophers, offers pragmatic diagnoses of Capgras syndrome and various forms of racial cognition, and defends William James’ famous doctrine of the "will to believe". Zimmerman believes we often have room to believe what we want. Indeed, the adoption of a theory of belief is an instance of this very phenomenon.
Genre: Non-Fiction > Faith, Beliefs & Philosophy