How can tolerate not be considered a propositional attitude? That is the question that has plagued me the last few days. This follows a graduate workshop in which another student put forth the argument. The reason provided was that "to tolerate" is not directed at the proposition like "to believe" since sometimes one is not tolerating the proposition but another object (e.g., oneself). So, it is a semi-propositional attitude. I am not satisfied with this idea. For, fear could be viewed the same way. Has anyone else heard this argument expressed? If so, can you clarify the grounds on which it is made? Or, can we just dismiss it?

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    A propositional attitude is per definitionem a mental state held toward a proposition. Still, I can accept or tolerate a person's behavior just like I can a proposition. Why would it be a problem that attitudes can target something other than a proposition? Can you explain your worry a bit more?
    – DBK
    Aug 17, 2014 at 22:06
  • I can't as I find the argument absurd. I just wanted to make sure that I was not alone. :) But, to clarify, it is not tolerating someone's behavior (ex. I tolerate the baby crying) that was the issue. For example, consider, "I tolerate that I have no money." The argument is made for cases such as " I tolerate that it I have no money." In this case, it is argued that it is not the proposition in the sentence that is tolerated but rather the proposition "that you took all of my money" (assuming that you took it from me). Or, so it is claimed.
    – user155194
    Aug 17, 2014 at 22:17
  • I still don't understand, sorry. How is this an example related to your question? Your question involves cases where "one is not tolerating the proposition but another object". In your example it seems all parties agree that there's a clearly propositional attitude, but you disagree wrt to which proposition the attitude is directed at, right?
    – DBK
    Aug 17, 2014 at 22:29
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    In this case, the other party did not accept that there was a determinate proposition because it is indeterminate which proposition the attitude is directed at (the person tolerating might not even know). And, it was argued, this is not just an epistemic deficiency. It is an ontological one. Which leads to irrealism about the existence of propositions. So, in this case, there are no grounds on which we can claim there to be a propositional attitude.
    – user155194
    Aug 17, 2014 at 22:47
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    Surely a propositional attitude must be an attitude relating to the truth of the proposition, eg "hope that" "deny" or "believe", but you don't tolerate a proposition; "tolerate that" is always ungrammatical. The example "I tolerate that I have no money" doesn't make sense - either "I tolerate my lack of money" or "I reluctantly accept that I have no money". You can tolerate a situation or behaviour referred to in a proposition, or you can tolerate someone who asserts the proposition, but you don't tolerate the proposition itself. Tolerance is not an epistemological attitude at all.
    – AndrewC
    Aug 17, 2014 at 23:54


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