Title: Belief: Aims, Norms, and Functions.
In my thesis, I reject two popular theories of belief, teleologism and normativism, and argue in favour of a third, functionalism. My central question asks what theoretical resources are essential for a fully adequate theory of belief. In particular, any theory of belief must be able to distinguish beliefs from other cognitive attitudes. It must also be able to explain (or explain away) various doxastic phenomena; such as, exclusivity, transparency, doxastic involuntarism, and epistemic normativity, in addition to explaining why beliefs are the way they are. For the negative part of my thesis, I argue that neither teleologism nor normativism has the resources to deal with at least some of these aspects of belief. For the positive part of my thesis, I argue that functionalism does a better job. Specifically, I defend a systemic capacity theory of functions, coupled with a motivational account of belief, to reach my final theory of belief.