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Apparently formed to contrast with belief, as if it were B-lief and this were A-lief. Consciously believing something to be true, but alieving otherwise.


alief (countable and uncountable, plural aliefs)

  1. (philosophy, psychology) A primitive, subconscious belieflike attitude which may contradict one's conscious beliefs.
    • 2008, TS Gendler, “Alief in action (and reaction)”, in Mind & Language:
      Abstract: I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way.
    • 2011, D Harter, S Lu, P Kotturu, D Pierce, “An Immersive Virtual Environment for Varying Risk and Immersion for Effective Training”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Simulated risk can invoke an alief of danger in subjects using a virtual environment. Alief is a concept useful in virtual training that describes situations where the person experiencing a simulated scenario knows it is not real, but suspends disbelief (willingly or unwillingly).
    • 2012 November 1, Laura Sizer, “Review: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom”, in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, volume 70, number 4, page 394–397:
      In many cases, Bloom notes, it is actually aliefs that are involved, not full-blown beliefs. 'Alief' is a term coined by Bloom's colleague Tamar Gendler to refer to more primitive versions of beliefs that are responsive to how things seem, not how things are.
    • 2012, Matthew Hutson, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us:
      Having the half belief (or what the philosopher Tamar Gendler calls an alief) that an image or decoy is literally what it represents is one thing, but how might one jump from that confusion, which is usually cleared up, to conceiving the abstract law that influence can be transmitted between the representation and it referent — the law of similarity?
    • 2013, Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo, Dan Flory, Race, Philosophy, and Film, page 22:
      In response, they pop out of the fiction and refuse to imagine as the movie invites them because, ex hypothesi, their nonconscious alief that white human beings are superior leads them to react automatically and in affect-laden ways to the contrary story and implicit appraisals that Rodriguez and his fellow artists present. Some of Machete’s viewers []

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