Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk, a cat, believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is. In other words, it concerns what exactly ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. The first half of the dissertation distinguishes the attitudes of belief attributed by lay people across cultures from the cognitive states of belief theoretically posited by some cognitive scientists. The second half of the dissertation defends the view that to have an attitude of belief is to live—to be disposed to act, react, think, and feel—in a manner that an actual belief attributor identifies with taking the world to be some way.