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Volume 50 • Number 1

January 2013



Enterta ining as a Propositional Attitude: A Nonreductive Characterization

by Uriah Kriegel

The propositional attitude of entertaining is rarely the topic of focal discussion in contemporary philosophy of mind. After suggesting that entertaining is best understood in phenomenological terms (§1) and arguing against the viability of reductive and eliminative accounts of entertaining (§2), this essay develops a nonreductive characterization of entertaining in terms of its connections to a web of neighboring attitudes (§§3–6).

§1. Introduction: Understanding the Attitudes

The functionalist orthodoxy in the philosophy of mind offers two pictures of the propositional attitudes. The dominant picture is of a broad web of causally interrelated attitudes, each of which is understood exhaustively in terms of its causal/functional role in the web. But functionalism also offers a recessive picture that analyzes all propositional attitudes into logical combinations of belief and desire: being glad that p is just believing that p and desiring that p; fearing that p is just believing that ◇p and desiring that ~p; being disappointed that p is just believing that p and desiring that ~p; hoping that p is believing that ◇p, believing that ◇~p, and desiring that p; and so on.

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ISSN: 2152-1123