Discussion papers

CPM-2019-215 - 16 May 2019

Discussion paper: Some questions and alternative hypotheses about the direction of thought from belief to action choice or vice versa

A discussion paper for the PaCE project on the question of when people decide actions no the basis of beliefs and when they determine their beliefs on the basis of their action (or desired action). Part of understanding why some Populist narratives work.

Coherency models of belief and decision-making tend to be less directional than those of traditional inference. That is, whilst traditional inferential accounts will trace a chain of reasoning from beliefs about the world to decisions about which action to take, coherence models equally allow for the opposite direction – from what individuals do (or want to do) to what they believe (I will call the former ‘reasoning forwards’ and the latter ‘reasoning backwards’ even if neither involve much ‘logic’ or ‘reasoning’ in a traditional sense). However, these accounts are less clear about why this sometimes happens one way and sometimes the other. This is the question that is focused upon here.

This short paper downloadable from the link below.