TagLast edit: 8 Jul 2021 5:14 UTC by Unnamed

An alief is a belief-like attitude, behavior, or expectation that can coexist with a contradictory belief. For example, the fear felt when a monster jumps out of the darkness in a scary movie is based on the alief that the monster is about to attack you, even though you believe that it cannot.

Philospoher Tamar Gendler introduced the word in her 2008 paper Alief and Belief as a sort of pun on dual process theory; what beliefs (“B-liefs”) are to system 2, aliefs (“A-liefs”) are to system 1. Thus, beliefs are explicitly held beliefs which inform slow reasoning, while aliefs are implicit attitudes which guide fast reactions. However, dual process theory is not totally necessary to make sense of the term alief.

Gendler (2008) also introduced a related pun of “cesire vs desire”; a desire (“D-zire”) is an explicit want which enters into explicit planning, while a cesire (“C-zire”) is an implicit one which guides reactions.

Related tags: Belief, Emotion,

Blog posts

See also

The Mys­tery of the Haunted Rationalist

Scott Alexander8 Mar 2009 20:39 UTC
108 points
70 comments3 min readLW link

The Mon­key and the Machine

ProofOfLogic23 Feb 2017 21:38 UTC
17 points
1 comment1 min readLW link

My at­tempt to ex­plain Look­ing, in­sight med­i­ta­tion, and en­light­en­ment in non-mys­te­ri­ous terms

Kaj_Sotala8 Mar 2018 7:37 UTC
222 points
135 comments17 min readLW link2 reviews

Book sum­mary: Un­lock­ing the Emo­tional Brain

Kaj_Sotala8 Oct 2019 19:11 UTC
320 points
48 comments21 min readLW link3 reviews

Beliefs as emo­tional strategies

Kaj_Sotala9 Apr 2021 14:28 UTC
68 points
4 comments8 min readLW link

Ra­tion­al­ity: Ap­pre­ci­at­ing Cog­ni­tive Algorithms

Eliezer Yudkowsky6 Oct 2012 9:59 UTC
95 points
135 comments5 min readLW link

Anx­iety and Rationality

[deleted]19 Jan 2016 18:30 UTC
51 points
31 comments4 min readLW link

Liv­ing Luminously

Alicorn17 Mar 2010 1:17 UTC
92 points
28 comments3 min readLW link

In­stru­men­tal vs. Epistemic—A Bardic Perspective

MBlume25 Apr 2009 7:41 UTC
90 points
189 comments3 min readLW link

Belief in Belief

Eliezer Yudkowsky29 Jul 2007 17:49 UTC
197 points
176 comments5 min readLW link

Learned Blank­ness and Ex­pec­ta­tions of Solubility

brook18 Mar 2022 12:42 UTC
8 points
2 comments2 min readLW link

Think­ing with­out pri­ors?

Q Home2 Aug 2022 9:17 UTC
7 points
0 comments9 min readLW link


TheLemmaLlama16 Mar 2024 23:56 UTC
3 points
6 comments1 min readLW link

Sort­ing Out Sticky Brains

Alicorn18 Jan 2010 4:18 UTC
69 points
44 comments3 min readLW link

Gen­der Iden­tity and Rationality

lucidfox1 Dec 2010 16:32 UTC
56 points
114 comments6 min readLW link

Only You Can Prevent Your Mind From Get­ting Killed By Politics

ChrisHallquist26 Oct 2013 13:59 UTC
61 points
144 comments5 min readLW link

Striv­ing to Accept

Eliezer Yudkowsky9 Mar 2009 23:29 UTC
48 points
38 comments4 min readLW link

Ra­tional Repentance

Mass_Driver14 Jan 2011 9:37 UTC
45 points
154 comments9 min readLW link

When can Fic­tion Change the World?

Timothy Underwood24 Aug 2020 13:47 UTC
79 points
18 comments11 min readLW link

How to de­cide un­der low-stakes uncertainty

dkl911 Aug 2023 18:07 UTC
10 points
4 comments1 min readLW link

Ra­tion­al­ist Judo, or Us­ing the Availa­bil­ity Heuris­tic to Win

jschulter15 Jul 2011 8:39 UTC
33 points
27 comments3 min readLW link