Credition: A Model of the Process of Normal Believing

Theoretical Challenges for a Model of Creditive Processes

There are many theoretical challenges that cannot be expanded upon in this one

book. A few warrant comments here:

  • • Because understanding a process requires one to create an integrated picture of how its elements behave over time, a broad theoretical and philosophical discussion about the nature of time may be relevant. The model of credition allows for time-related discussions of the believing process.
  • • Introducing a time-based perspective into our picture of the process of believing leads to strange questions: When exactly does a creditive process begin? How is the end of a creditive process evident? We suggest that believing begins with an initially novel perception and ends with preparing to take action (i.e. in the prefiguration of what we call “space of action”) or to recover a self-determined control of oneself. Thus we conceptualize the term credition as located at the interface of attitude and action. Thus, thinking about doing something without any action is not understood to be credition.
  • • Processes of believing are interrelated with attitudes, influencing them as well as our actions. They are part of a complex meaning making process (cf. Paloutzian and Mukai, this volume). Thus, creditions are connected to perceptions, actions, attitudes, and convictions. These topics are subject to many theoretical and philosophical reflections, and many empirical findings on these topics are implicit contributions to an understanding of creditions. To screen the insights imbedded in this literature from the standpoint of the credition model is a major challenge for the future.
  • • Special attention should go to examining the role of the will. As a volitional procedure, will has to be discussed and integrated into the transformation process that occurs between perception and action.
  • • The model of credition identifies different functions as constituents of the process of believing. Thus the theoretical and philosophical questions related to function and functionality have to be discussed.
  • • The referential frame within which functions involved in believing take part (whether “body”, “person”, or perhaps a privileged candidate - “the self’) are especially important to discussions of the process of believing. Concepts such as “body”, “person”, and “self” are relatively modern and have been discussed with controversy since the time of Enlightenment (Thiel 2014), and are prominent in the model of credition (cf. Northoff, this volume; Colage and Gobbi, this volume). Many questions about the individual (Conway 2005) and the social self and its moral development (Han et al. 2008; Sugiura 2011, 2013; Potthoff and Seitz 2015) have emerged from these and related modern concepts.
  • • There are many additional topics that can be discussed within a theoretical framework of believing processes. These include action, truth, will, trust, and attachment (cf. Aguilar-Raab and Ditzen, this volume), codes and coding (cf. Auletta, this volume), and value, causality, and causation (cf. Leach, this volume).
  • • Evidence from neuroimaging and neurophysiology has shown that the intricately interwoven mental operations of perception, valuation, and generation of action affording believing are processed in extensive neural networks (cf. Seitz, this volume). This may provide new strategies for an empirical exploration of ethical guidance of human behavior (cf. Sugiura, this volume).
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