Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Gary Hatfield


Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief theoretically posited by (some) cognitive scientists. Part II defends the view that to have an attitude of belief is to live—to be disposed to act, react, think, and feel—in a pattern that an actual belief attributor identifies with taking the world to be some way. Drawing on scientific, scholarly, and literary sources of evidence, How Beliefs are like Colors provides a framework for research on belief across the humanities and sciences of the mind.

Included in

Philosophy Commons