Why do we run toward people we love, but only walk toward others? Why do people in New York seem to walk faster than other cities? Why do our eyes linger longer on things we value more? There is a link between how the brain assigns value to things, and how it controls our movements. This link is an ancient one, developed through shared neural circuits that on one hand teach us how to value things, and on the other hand control the vigor with which we move. As a result, when there is damage to sy...
Phillips et al. make a strong case that knowledge representations should play a larger role in cognitive science. Their arguments are reinforced by comparable efforts to place moral knowledge, rather than moral beliefs, at the heart of a naturalistic moral psychology. Conscience, Kant's synthetic a priori, and knowledge attributions in the law all point in a similar direction.
Comparing knowledge with belief can go wrong in two dimensions: If the authors employ a wider notion of knowledge, then they do not compare like with like because they assume a narrow notion of belief. If they employ only a narrow notion of knowledge, then their claim is not supported by the evidence. Finally, we sketch a superior teleological view.
Autistic, developmental, and nonhuman primate populations fail tasks that are thought to involve attributing beliefs, but not those thought to reflect the representation of knowledge. Instead of knowledge representations being more basic than belief representations, relational mentalizing may explain these observations: The tasks referred to as reflecting "belief" representation, but not the "knowledge" representation tasks, are social conflict designs. They involve mental conflict monitoring af...
Because knowledge entails true belief, it can be hard to explain why a given action is naturally seen as driven by one of these states as opposed to the other. A simpler and more radical characterization of knowledge helps to solve this problem while also shedding some light on what is special about social learning.
Phillips and colleagues convincingly argue that knowledge attribution is a faster, more automatic form of mindreading than belief attribution. However, they do not explain what it is about knowledge attribution that lends it this cognitive advantage. I suggest an explanation of the knowledge-attribution advantage that would also help to distinguish it from belief-based and minimalist alternatives.
Phillips et al. discuss whether knowledge or beliefs are more basic representations of others' minds, focusing on the primary function of knowledge representation: learning from others. We discuss links between emotion and "knowledge versus belief," and particularly the role of emotions in learning from others in mechanisms such as "social epistemic emotions" and "affective social learning."
This commentary on the paper "Knowledge before belief" argues that it is not only in the cognitive sciences that knowledge should be separated into a separate category from belief, but also in rational decision theory. It outlines how knowledge-as-commitment - as distinct from knowledge-as-belief - can be built into an extension of the economic theory of revealed preference.
Phillips et al. argue that our capacity for representing knowledge is more basic than our capacity for representing belief. But they remain neutral on the further claim that our "belief capacity" depends on our "knowledge capacity." I consider how this further claim might help to explain some of the generalizations the authors catalog, and explore one way of understanding it.
The central claim in the target article is that representations of knowledge are more basic than representations of beliefs. However, the authors are blending together two distinct concepts of knowledge: "awareness" and "propositional knowledge." Distinguishing these two concepts of knowledge clarifies how the developmental and comparative data fit within the philosophical literature.