I regard the idea of "believing" to be unsound, because it is a
pre-Freudian concept, which assumes that each person has a "single
self" that maintains beliefs.  A more realistic view is that each
person is constantly switching among various different "ways to think"
in which different assertions, statements, or bodies of knowledge keep
changing their status, etc.  Accordingly our "sets of beliefs" can
include many conflicts--and in different mental contexts, those
inconsistencies may get resolved in different ways, perhaps depending
on one's current priorities, etc.

Dr. Minsky,

In your book, Society of Mind, you talk about a belief in freedom of

"The physical world provides no room for freedom of will...That concept
is essential to our models of the mental realm. Too much of our
psychology is based on it for us to ever give it up. We're virtually
forced to maintain that belief, even though we know it's false."

Are you saying that we must use an unsound idea (belief)?

Regarding Stathis' question to you about truth, your calling the idea
of believing unsound seems to imply that you are assuming that there is
no truth that we can discover.  But on the other hand, if there is no
discoverable truth, then how can we know that something, like the
existence of freedom of will, is false?

However, the belief in freedom of will seems to be a belief that is
rather constant, so there seem to be some beliefs that provide evidence
for an invariant reality and truth, not necessarily freedom of will,
but something.  And I think that looking for ultimate sources would be
circular (as you've said on the Atheist List) only if there were no
ultimate source that we could find.  Do you agree with this statement?

Tom Caylor

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