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Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4$
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Tamar Szabó Gendler and John Hawthorne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672707.001.0001

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Knowledge as a Mental State

Knowledge as a Mental State

Chapter:
(p.272) (p.273) 10. Knowledge as a Mental State
Source:
Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4
Author(s):

Jennifer Nagel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672707.003.0010

In the philosophical literature on mental states, the paradigmatic examples of mental states are beliefs, desires, intentions, and phenomenal states such as pain. The corresponding list in the psychological literature on mental states includes one further member: the state of knowledge. This article examines why developmental, comparative, and social psychologists have classified knowledge as a mental state, while most recent philosophers—with the notable exception of Timothy Williamson—have not. The disagreement is traced back to a difference in how each side understands the relationship between the concepts of knowledge and belief, concepts which are understood in both disciplines to be closely linked. Psychologists and philosophers other than Williamson have generally disagreed about which of the pair is prior. The rival claims of priority are examined both in the light of philosophical arguments by Williamson and others, and in the light of empirical work on mental state attribution.

Keywords:   knowledge, belief, mental states, mindreading, Williamson

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