Natural language and virtual belief

Frankish, Keith (1998). Natural language and virtual belief. In: Carruthers, Peter and Boucher, Jill eds. Language and thought : Interdisciplinary themes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 248–269.



This chapter outlines a new argument for the view that language has a cognitive role. I suggest that humans exhibit two distinct kinds of belief state, one passively formed, the other actively formed. I argue that actively formed beliefs (virtual beliefs, as I call them) can be identified with premising policies, and that forming them typically involves certain linguistic operations. I conclude that natural language has at least a limited cognitive role in the formation and manipulation of virtual beliefs.

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