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A Dispositional Approach to Attitudes: Thinking Outside of the Belief Box

  • Eric Schwitzgebel

Abstract

I offer here an account of what it is to have an attitude. I intend this account to be entirely general — to include all the “propositional attitudes” (believing, desiring, intending, fearing, hoping …), the “reactive attitudes” (resenting, appreciating, forgiving, being angry with …), and other types of attitudes that appear to be directed toward people, things, or events (loving Tim, trusting Elena, hating jazz, having a “bad attitude” about school, valuing kindness over intelligence, approving of the President’s foreign policy decisions …). I will argue that to have an attitude is, primarily, (1) to have a dispositional profile that matches, to an appropriate degree and in appropriate respects, a stereotype for that attitude, typically grounded in folk psychology, and secondarily, (2) in some cases also to meet further stereotypical attitude-specific conditions. To have an attitude, on the account I will recommend here, is mainly a matter of being apt to interact with the world in patterns that ordinary people would regard as characteristic of having that attitude.

Keywords

Personality Trait Surface Phenomenon Dispositional Property Deep Condition Folk Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Eric Schwitzgebel 2013

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  • Eric Schwitzgebel

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