The aim of belief and suspended belief


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In this paper, I discuss whether different interpretations of the aim of belief – both the teleological and normative interpretations – have the resources to explain certain descriptive and normative features of suspended belief, or suspension. I argue that despite the recent efforts of theorists to extend these theories to account for suspension, they ultimately fail. The implication is that we must either develop alternative theories of belief that can account for suspension, or we must abandon the assumption that these theories ought to be able to account for suspension. To close, I briefly consider some of the reasons we have in favor of pursuing each of these options, and I suggest that it is worth exploring the possibility that suspension is best understood as its own attitude, independently of theories of belief’s aim.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2021


  • Aim of belief
  • aims
  • norms
  • suspend belief
  • suspend judgment
  • withhold belief

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