Chapter

Metamind: Belief, Consciousness, and Intentionality

Keith Lehrer

in Metamind

Published in print June 1990 | ISBN: 9780198248507
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681141 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.003.0013
Metamind: Belief, Consciousness, and Intentionality

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Thomas Reid articulated a theory of conception and belief which was a significant contribution in his day and which has contemporary relevance. Reid gives a central role to intentionality and consciousness. He maintains that conception and belief presuppose an operation of the mind that is innate, part of our natural constitution, and interprets the original signs of sense. Reid's theory of belief is based on his theory of conception and meaning. This theory incorporates the division-of-labour theory of meaning. Reid anticipated modern theories of meaning, conception, and belief, especially causal theories, but his understanding of the role of consciousness in conception and belief renders his theory distinct from those of his modern rivals. He discovered that ordinary conception and belief presuppose consciousness of our mental activity and, therefore, that the human mind is essentially a metamind.

Keywords: Thomas Reid; conception; meaning; belief; truth; dualism; consciousness; metamind; intentionality; human mind

Chapter.  9230 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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