Why does an individual hold a belief?


I've been asked why people hold beliefs.

What is the raison d'etre of human belief? anyone have an idea?


Posted 2017-06-26T16:43:12.570

Reputation: 111

Question was closed 2017-06-27T08:54:21.283

Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. Your question is currently too broad and vague to answer on this site. Among other things, beliefs are seen as directing behavior, see SEP's Belief.

– Conifold – 2017-06-26T23:44:52.097

1This is a topic of cognitive science, not philosophy. – mootmoot – 2017-06-27T15:37:19.307



To allow a given direction in thought to be followed long enough to receive a fair test.

From a modern theory of perception, we learn about the environment by making guesses about it and confronting reality with them. If we had only reactive thoughts, and no beliefs, we could not use this style of learning. A given guess has to be remembered and held to long enough that the corresponding support or disproof can be correlated with the guess.

And the longer a guess holds out against disproof, the more likely it is to be true, at least on a certain scale. If you are a monkey guessing the apple you are looking at is ripe, the more seconds this impression survives, while you take a few looks from different angles, none of which detect any green on it, the more likely the apple is to actually be ripe.

Unfortunately, we tend to think that means it is true on every scale, which makes longstanding cultural beliefs hard to modify when they ultimately don't fit reality.


Posted 2017-06-26T16:43:12.570