Understanding Beliefs

Author: Nils J. Nilsson
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262321130
Format: PDF
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Our beliefs constitute a large part of our knowledge of the world. We have beliefs about objects, about culture, about the past, and about the future. We have beliefs about other people, and we believe that they have beliefs as well. We use beliefs to predict, to explain, to create, to console, to entertain. Some of our beliefs we call theories, and we are extraordinarily creative at constructing them. Theories of quantum mechanics, evolution, and relativity are examples. But so are theories about astrology, alien abduction, guardian angels, and reincarnation. All are products (with varying degrees of credibility) of fertile minds trying to find explanations for observed phenomena. In this book, Nils Nilsson examines beliefs: what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them. We should evaluate our beliefs carefully, Nilsson points out, because they influence so many of our actions and decisions. Some of our beliefs are more strongly held than others, but all should be considered tentative and changeable. Nilsson shows that beliefs can be quantified by probability, and he describes networks of beliefs in which the probabilities of some beliefs affect the probabilities of others. He argues that we can evaluate our beliefs by adapting some of the practices of the scientific method and by consulting expert opinion. And he warns us about "belief traps" -- holding onto beliefs that wouldn't survive critical evaluation. The best way to escape belief traps, he writes, is to expose our beliefs to the reasoned criticism of others.

The Belief Book

Author: David McAfee
Publisher: Dangerous Little Books
ISBN: 1908675322
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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What is belief and why is it so important? Where did it come from and what does it do? This book answers all of those questions and more! David G. McAfee, an author who studies religions, teamed up with writer and illustrator Chuck Harrison to create The Belief Book. No matter how old or how young you are, this easy-to-read book can help you learn more about religions and gods and beliefs in general. It will also teach you about something called The Scientific Method, which is how we learn new things about the world! By the time you're done reading you will know the answers to some of life's biggest questions, but more importantly you will see why your questions, and all questions for that matter, are so important. This book is the first in a series of books all about belief, gods, and religion. The fully illustrated and interactive Belief Book is for readers and thinkers of all ages, including kids and kids at heart.

Beliefs About Inequality

Author: James R. Kluegel
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 0202303276
Format: PDF, ePub
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Motivated by the desire to explain how Americans perceive and evaluate inequality and related programs and policies, the authors conducted a national survey of beliefs about social and economic inequality in America. Here they present the results of their research on the structure, determinants, and certain political and personal consequences of these beliefs. The presentations serve two major goals; to describe and explain the central features of Americans' images of inequality. Beliefs About Inequality begins with a focus on people's perceptions of the most basic elements of inequality: the availability of opportunity in society, the causes of economic achievements, and the benefits and costs of equality and inequality. The book's analysis of the public's beliefs on these key issues is based on fundamental theories of social psychology and lays the groundwork for understanding how Americans evaluate inequality-related policies. The authors discuss the ultimate determinants of beliefs and the implications of their findings for social policies related to inequality. They propose that attitudes toward economic inequality and related policy are influenced by three major aspects of the current American social, economic, and political environment: a stable "dominant ideology" about economic inequality; individuals' social and economic status; and specific beliefs and attitudes, often reflecting "social liberalism" shaped by recent political debates and events. "a superb piece of scholarship, combining substantive ambition and theoretical depth with analytical clarity and sophistication."--Public Opinion Quarterly James R. Kluegel is chairman of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Evaluating Contemporary Juvenile Justice. Eliot R. Smith is professor of psychology at Indiana University. He is the author of Social Psychology.

Prisoners of Belief

Author: Matthew McKay
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications Incorporated
ISBN: 9781879237049
Format: PDF, Docs
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Groundbreaking techniques for uncovering basic core beliefs, evaluating accuracy, and shifting towards a healthier direction.

Beliefs Values and Traditions

Author: Ann Lovelace
Publisher: Heinemann
ISBN: 9780435302610
Format: PDF
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Organ transplants - Genetic engineering - Abortion - Morality - Marriage - Divorce - Suffering - Role of women - Discrimination - Allah - Elderly - Synagogues.

Talk about Beliefs

Author: Mark Crimmins
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262031851
Format: PDF
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Talk about Beliefs presents a new account of beliefs and of practices of reporting them that yields solutions to foundational problems in the philosophies of language and mind. Crimmins connects issues in mental representation with semantic issues in language for talking about cognition to provide a theoretically fruitful account of belief and belief reports that is logically consistent with intuitive judgments of such notorious problems as Frege's puzzles about substitution and cognitive significance, Quine's puzzle aboutde re, Castaneda and Perry's puzzle about indexical beliefs, and other more complicated variations. Crimmins's account relies on, and to some extent vindicates, the traditions of representationalism in the philosophy of mind and of structured propositional semantics. In reporting a person's beliefs, Crimmins argues, we sytematically make claims not only about the propositional content of the beliefs but also about cognitive representations. He elaborates and defends this proposal by providing a careful assesssment of pragmatic and semantic contributions to the claims expressed in belief reports. Crimmins's thesis forms a promising framework within which to approach such issues in the philosophy of mind as tacit belief (do you believe that pencils do not eat?), criteria for having concepts (do blind persons have the concept of red?), and restrictions of acquaintance on objects of thought (can you believe something about the first person born in the next century?).


Author: Mary Boyce
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415239028
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Zoroastrianism is significant in the history of religions. It can be traced back to a remote, possibly even Indo-European, past. This element links Zoroastrianism with the beliefs of ancient (Vedic) India, and survives as a subordinate part of what is one of the earliest revealed religions. Zoroaster's own teachings have moreover a highly spiritual and ethical content, which makes them a rewarding study in themselves. This book attempts to trace the continuous history of the faith from the time it was preached by Zoroaster down to the present day - a span of about 3500 years. First taught among nomads on the Asian steppes, Zoroastrianism became the state religion of the three great Iranian empires and had a remarkable influence on other world faiths: to the east on northern Buddhism, to the west on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With the conquest of Iran by the Muslim Arabs, Zoroastrianism lost its secular power but continued to survive as a minority faith. Despite its antiquity, it remains, therefore, a living religion.


Author: Charlie T. McCormick
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 1598842412
Format: PDF
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Written by an international team of acclaimed folklorists, this reference text provides a cross-cultural survey of the major types and methods of inquiry in folklore. * Contains contributions from major scholars such as David Leeming, Linda Degh, and Dan Ben-Amos * Numerous photographs bring the subject material to life * More than 300 entries, each concluding with a bibliography of references * Over 50 sidebars provide biographical information on major folklore collectors and scholars

Shared Beliefs in a Society

Author: Daniel Bar-Tal
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 9780761906599
Format: PDF
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Shared Beliefs in a Society is a much-needed contribution to societal psychology, a new emerging subfield of social psychology, which studies societies from a social psychological perspective. Daniel Bar-Tal presents his work of the last 15 years on shared beliefs in societies under one conceptual framework from which to identify beliefs held in common by entire societies and nations. Using examples form the history, politics, sociology, culture, and education from different societies, the author offers that social psychology can provide a unique perspective on society, but it can also benefit from integrating contributions from other social sciences into its own theorizing effort.