俞吾金的思想世界
俞吾金的思想世界

 

“信念是行为的习惯”吗?
发布时间:2018-07-12       访问次数:120

“信念是行为的习惯”吗?


                                                ——对罗蒂的一个基本观点的质疑




复旦大学  俞吾金




按照罗蒂的看法,以皮尔士为代表的古典实用主义和以他自己为代表的新实用主义的一个基本的观点是:“信念是行为的习惯。”不用说,这一观点相对于传统的表象主义的观点来说,具有超越性的意义。它奠基于达尔文的演化理论,肯定人的知识和信念都是在人应付环境的过程中形成并发展起来的。这一新观点揭示出知识和信念的一个新的维度,即实用性维度。换言之,人们不应该脱离这一维度,抽象地谈论信念的真假问题。诚然,休谟早就告诉我们,习惯是人生的伟大指南,但却不应该把把信念与行为的习惯简单地等同起来。我们的主要理由如下:


其一,对于具体的人来说,他一生中的大部分信念并不直接源自他自己的行为。从表现方式看,人们的信念可以分为两种:一种是直接的信念,即在人们的行为中直接形成并发展起来的;另一种是间接的信念,即不是这些人的直接的行为方式,而是他们间接地从其他人(包括前人)那里接受过来的。事实上,人们生活中的绝大部分信念是间接的信念。比如,“蛇会咬人”这样的信念,并不需要每个人都被蛇咬一下才能获得。尽管从起点上和归根到底的层面上,实践和行为是人们获得信念的基础,然而,对于具体的人来说,其大部分信念是以间接知识的方式获得的。这就启示我们,把认识论奠基于康德式的表象主义是不妥的,但像罗蒂那样,在认识论中完全否认表象的地位和作用也是不妥的。


其二,信念是观念性的,而行为的习惯则是实践性的。尽管信念指导着人的行为,而人的行为也进一步检验着信念,但这两者却不能被简单地等同起来。正如康德早就告诉我们的那样,观念上的100元钱并不等于实际上拥有100元钱。何况,从存在方式看,信念也可以被划分为以下两种不同的类型:一是超验性的信念,如本体论观念、宗教信仰、道德理想等等;二是经验性的信念,如上面提到的“蛇会咬人”。然而,行为的习惯却只能是经验性的、可观察的,即使人们在崇拜上帝时也是如此。


其三,从性质上看,信念也可以被区分为现实的和虚幻的。比如,“蛇会咬人”是一个现实的信念,它在日常生活中一再地被证实;而一个完美的乌托邦社会就是一个虚幻的信念,这个指向将来的、虚幻的信念又怎么与行为的习惯发生联系呢?


其四,所谓行为的习惯,必定蕴含着这样的意思,即同一类行为已经过多次的重复。也就是说,任何信念都是与复数的行为相关的。于是,就产生了如下的问题:一个人只有多次重复其行为时,才可能有相应的信念存在。那么,当他第一次诉诸自己的行为,亦即其行为处于单数状态时,难道他就不受任何信念的约束吗?


总之,“信念”、“行为”和“习惯”这样的概念在内容上都是无限丰富的,是罗蒂关于“信念是行为的习惯”这样简单的表述所无法包容的。由于休谟早已向我们证明,习惯是与心理倾向联系在一起的,而罗蒂又对以康德为代表的先验论进行了激烈的批判,这样,我们在罗蒂哲学中发现的唯一确定的东西就是:没有任何东西是确定不移的。事实上,按照罗蒂的理论,他就应该像维特根斯坦一样保持沉默,因为他的任何言说都是对他自己所主张的理论的否定。














“ Is  Belief  habits  of  action ”?


             ——query one of  Rorty’s basic viewpoints




     Prof. Yu Wujin

 Fudan University




According to Rorty’s theory, one of fundamental viewpoints of the classical and new pragmatism is: belief is habits of action. It is obvious that the traditional representationalism has been transcended by this viewpoint based on Dawin’s theory of evolution, which holds all knowledge and belief have been formed in the process people deal with the environment. This new point brings to light a new dimension——utility dimension of all knowledge and belief. In other words, people shouldn’t talk about true or false belief, breaking away from the utility dimension. Although Hume tells us that Custom is the great guide of human life,[1] we don’t agree with Rorty’s viewpoint which equals belief with habits of action. Our main reasons are as follows:


First of all, it goes without saying that the most beliefs of people don’t come from their own actions. Seeing from modes of expression, belief can be divided into two following different kinds: one of them is the direct belief which forms and developed from human actions directly; the other is indirect belief as knowledge coming from other persons indirectly. In fact, the most beliefs in human life are indirect. For example, this belief ——snake is able to snap man—— is gotten by most of people indirectly, not based on direct actions. So it is wrong for Kantian philosophers to have epistemology on the basis of representationalism, however, it is also wrong for Rorty to deny completely position and function of representation in epistemology.


Secondarily, belief is conceptual, but action is practical. Although belief guides human action and human action also inspects belief, belief isn’t equal to habits of action. As Kant tells us that conceptual 100 Yuan isn’t equal to actual 100 Yuan. Seeing from modes of existence, much less, belief can also divided into two different kinds: one of them is the transcendent belief, such as ontological idea, religious faith and moral ideal; the other is experiential belief, such as “snake is able to snap man”. To be different from belief, habits of action are only experiential.


Thirdly, belief can also be divided into actual and illusory, seeing from its quality. For instance, this belief ——snake is able to snap man——is actual, however, another belief ——there is a perfect society in the future——is illusory, only towards to future, for which how to contact with habits of action.


Fourthly, by habits of action people mean the fact that same kinds of action have been repeated for many times. That is to say, any belief does only related to plural actions, so such a result arises: only if man has repeated his own action for several times, it is possible for him to have a belief. In that way, if man acts for first time(single action), does he have any belief?


In all, like such concepts——belief, action and habit——have colorful content which can not be included by Rorty’s viewpoint “belief is habits of action”. In addition, because Hume put forward that habits always contact with psychological phenomena, hence we find that only certain thing in Rorty’s philosophy is such a result——nothing is certain. According to Rorty’s theory, he ought to, like Wittgenstein, keep silent, because any speech he has given, in effect,  was a negation of his own theory.


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