Claims, Interdisciplinary Challenges, and Open Questions

With the lack of empirical effort to understand belief - sometimes called “neglect of belief’ (Connors and Halligan 2015) - and the absence of theoretical attempts to understand “normal” belief, research on creditions could be seen as completely new. But actually, it makes explicit what has implicitly been going on for several years (cf. Sect. 3.1 above). The creditions model enables some old and implied questions to be put plainly on the table. What is a process? What is a process of believing? How can it be distinguished from other processes like the process of knowing, thinking, or having an intuition? What is the function of a process of believing for humans and how is it represented in the brain?

We still lack a definition of “normal believing process”. Nevertheless, new questions emerge. For example, when does a believing process begin and end?” The notion that such a process begins and ends has never been raised in a theoretically sufficient way. More crucial is the question of what happens between the time when the process of believing begins and ends. These and related questions demonstrate the need for (a) theoretical efforts to conceptualize processes of believing, and (b) empirical research to test the ideas that emerge from those efforts. Such research activities mark a paradigm-shift.

We need to formulate a theoretical framework for “normal” believing that neither reflects pathological brain states nor applies only to religions. A credition model of processes of believing would do this by serving as an effective vehicle for discussing what happens at different scientific levels of analysis - that of transcendence, behavior and interaction with the environment, body, molecules, cells and neurons, genes, atoms, and subatomic entities or even the question of whether the Planckian Distribution Equitation may open new perspectives for credition research (Ji, this volume). To tackle this challenge, a theoretical framework has to be created that accounts for the fluidity of the believing process and that allows different scientific descriptions to be integrated, whether physical, biological, neural, or behavioral. For example, questions about the role of the motor system (cf. Buccino and Colage, this volume) and the relation between body and self (embodiment) in prompting actions (cf. Colage and Gobbi, this volume) can be articulated and researched.

The role of “computational” information processes (cf. Bischof, this volume), and how they relate to general information processing and energy consumption, modelled in the concept of “gnergy” (Ji 2012) are especially salient. Other issues also need to be addressed, for example, whether and in what sense emotions can be seen as information (Schwarz 2001, 2011), and how long it takes until emotional perception shows effects (Topolinski et al. 2015). A theory of creditions should be able to integrate such processes to formulate a procedural model that makes the interdependence of the fluidity and stability of beliefs clear and as well as integrate the above new findings on the dual cognitive model of intuitive and controlled judgment (Morewedge and Kahnemann 2010).

Credition: Model Building and Terminology

Despite the challenges noted above, an initial model can be presented that can be discussed and improved. When we change our focus from a static concept of belief to a concept of normal believing, the accent will be on the fluidity of those processes that merge internal and external reality and those that mediate their stable appearance. We cannot make this change within the boundaries of our past terminology and theoretical framework. Therefore, in order to develop the creditions model, it is necessary to introduce some new terms (e.g., “bab”, “blob”, “space of action”, enclosure function, etc.). These terms make it possible to initially stress the process character of belief, and to eventually explain religious as well as non-religious believing.

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