Mind & Society

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 21–33 | Cite as

Conscious belief as constructed memory: an empirical challenge to dispositionalism



There is an emerging consensus that human behavior is governed by two types of processes: System 1 processes, which are quicker, automatic, and run in parallel, and System 2 (S2) processes, which are slower, more conscious, and run in serial. Among such “dual-process” theorists, however, there is disagreement about whether the premises we use in our conscious, S2 reasoning should be considered as beliefs. In this exchange, one facet that has been largely overlooked is how conscious beliefs are structurally and functionally similar to episodic memories. This article will argue that the similarities between beliefs and episodic memories, specifically in light of Daniel Schacter’s widely influential constructive memory framework, highlight a heretofore unexamined empirical weakness of dispositional accounts of S2 beliefs. In addition, this perspective helps situate beliefs within our broader understanding of how information is encoded and retrieved in the brain.


Belief Memory Dual-process theories of mind Propositional attitudes Dispositional beliefs Episodic memory 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OaklandUSA

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