Hundredth Post Effect

My previous post was 100rd one, so probably nice time for little statistics and meta-blogging:
7 months blogging
over 110 comments
over 22000 page views
over 60 blogs linking here
over 50 around 15 readers through RSS. I knew it was too good to be true. WordPress announced that it was overestimated the number of feeds because of some glitch in the algorithm. If one more bug comes out I will be from “over 50 readers” to 5

Thanks to all the readers, especially to ones who left their comments (not many :) ).

Thanks to Chris from Mixing Memory for having posts of such quality, and also for being the first from the philosophy blogosphere to add me to his blogroll.
Thanks to Clark from Mormon Metaphysics (also a blog of great quality) for linking to different posts several times from his left-side column, and Richard from Philosophy, et cetera for organizing the Philosophers’ Carnival, and the hosts of those carnivals for accepting  few of my posts on the carnivals so far.
Thanks to Pete from Brain Hammer and Eric from Splintered Mind, for giving lot of food for thought on issues from Philosophy Of Mind, and to all other blogs on my blog list.
Also thanks to all those who have added links to my blog since it started.

As for the number of page views, I guess it will be interesting to add little clarification:
The number of visits thus far is over 22000 page views, and if it seems high for this blog, you are right. It is not that my posts in general that has attracted so much attention. The number is actually primarily so high because of the post with links to video lectures. It has alone over 13000 page views.

The  significant number of hits came from links to that post from Leiter Reports (around 800 in two days when the link was posted) and Metafilter (I think between 1000 and 2000 in two days after the linking). But the most hits had come fro and StumbleUpon services. I guess most of you have heard about It is a social bookmarking service, where the users add  bookmarks to their accounts, and further assign tags and descriptions to them. Then other users can search through tags/descriptions, to check for the bookmarks of other users under those tags. Users can also add bookmarks of others to their own bookmarks. It also contains a page where most recent bookmarks are displayed, and a page for recently most bookmarked pages.
The link at Metafilter had another effect, it seems that lot of people frequenting Metafilter are also users of, and they added the url to their bookmarks. The more people bookmark your page, the higher it ranks, so eventually it was in the top bookmarked pages for the video tag. That started bringing new users of, and more bookmarks, which have also bookmarked their page, so that eventually the link was put on the “Hot” page, which brought new hits. The total of that day was around 3000 page views. The other day it was 1400.. It eventually “cooled off” in few days, but there are still people who are coming to the video lecture post through their bookmarks. The other big part of the visitors of that page come from the StumbleUpon service. It is also kind of bookmarking service, with the difference that it also has  a toolbar which is added to the browser. When you register, you say what kind of topics you are interested in. After that you can press the “stumble upon” button, which presents you with a page from those category that other users have added and voted as cool. You can then use the voting buttons yourself, to vote that page as good,or bad, which in turns affects the overall voting and the possibility of that page to be shown to other people. I have quite a lot of hits from StumbleUpon, actually for few days it was limited to 20-30 hits, but then suddenly for two days bursted to around 400 hits each day. After that, it again lowered to the previous levels, and is still bringing new people to that page.

Anyway, it is good that so many people have found that list of links useful, though I would like it more of course if they find something interesting in the other posts I actually write :).


Metaphysics Manifesto

The philosophy consist in our thinking about something.
The things we think of, come from our being in the phenomenal world – things we notice through our being in phenomenal world.
Not all things we notice can be subject matter of philosophy (by philosophy, I will be thinking of metaphysics here mainly). Specifically the thoughts of particulars can’t be subject matter of philosophy. It can’t be subject matter of philosophy how many people are there on this planet today, or what is the color of the hat of that person I saw today, and so on. As long as philosophy is quest for universal truths, the subject matter of philosophy can be only universals.

What can we hope in philosophy in relation to those universals? When can philosophy be happy with its treatment of those universals?

Philosophy, its life, and its end can’t be in any other form, then form of thought.
The mere noticing of a universal is for sure not what philosophy is about. This noticing is obviously required, as if we don’t notice a universal we can’t even start to think about it, but the philosophical thought doesn’t stop at noticing, it tries to go further in the attempt to grasp the essence. But what kind of form this “grasping the essence” of a universal can take? It seems to me, it can’t be in any other way but through understanding, which in turn can be only a comprehension of its relations to other universals.

As long we are hoping for grasping, or comprehension, this can’t be empirical matter, or be settled by empirical means. The empirical data can merely point to, or help us give a theory about the relation between universals (as for example science does). But, this is not comprehending, those relations are left in such way as something external to the universals and are merely one new universal (a law, theory, etc..) which we add. This kind of outcome is obvious in the latest developments of science, where the laws and theories are said to go outside of the possibility for intuitive understanding.

If the understanding is some kind of thought which includes relations between multiple universals, what can be say about the form of any final comprehension (or comprehensions) which we might hope to achieve? It seems to me, to be seen as comprehension, the relation must be grasped as a necessary one. But then, where can a necessary relation between those universals come from?

I will stop for the moment with the general talk here, and concentrate on one example of such comprehension, and further argue that the last question is not a good one.
The example I’m thinking of is the basic comprehension that one and one make two.
I won’t put it in a form of a separate sentence (“one and one make two”), as I don’t want to frame the discussion in the terms of comprehending a truth of the sentence (or proposition) and I believe that one and one is two can be grasped without having words for those universals. One might ask how can one think of a universal without having a word for it? But to answer with a question –  how can one learn the word for a universal without noticing the universal in first place? And when one has noticed the universal, it is a possible content of that person’s thoughts.
Nor will I put it in form of mathematical formalism (“1+1=2”), because comprehending that one and one make two is done everyday by young children before they learn any mathematical signs or formalisms.
And those who might say that what I said is not precise enough, and that they can make a complications, in which one and one won’t be two, I will just ask to ignore those possibilities. I’m thinking of the case without those complications. To say that one can introduce complications, is to admit that before the complications there is something clear.

How do one come to that comprehension that one and one make two?
We can start by ostensive teaching, where we show sequence of situations to the student . First we show one apple to the student, and say “one”, then we show two apples and say “two”, then we show two lemons and say “two”, then we show one pen and say “one” and so on. The situations are concrete, but what is required from the student is to notice the universals in those situations, and to start to recognize them. The use of words can be seen merely as a pointer, a help that student can use through the training to check if some universal he/she noticed is the one to which we are pointing to. For example the student might first notice that the examples have different colors, but after we use “one” and “two”, and the color of the exemplars don’t change, student doesn’t have reason to think that we are pointing(teaching) to the colors, the student will then start searching for another universal in the situations.
After noticing those universals and learning to recognize them, student can think about them. The student can comprehend that one and one make two. As said, this comprehension is not of a linguistic nature, even the language is used to train the subject (to point to the universals). The student might have noticed the universals one and two even without words for them (actually student did notice them before learning of the word, and needed to further check the repeated example in order to figure out if that is the universal the teacher is pointing to). The student can also comprehend that one and one make two without the language to express that relation. The comprehension has nothing to do with the method of learning, nor with the language, as long as one can think of those universals, one has the ability to comprehend that relation.

Now, let’s return to the question asked – where does this necessary relation between the universals come from?
There are, as far as I know, two basic accounts. The first is what I will call an “engineering account”, where we start to talk about the nature of the concepts and how they are grounded in the underlying capacities of the mind/brain. This engineering account tries to give a theory of the mind (or the brain), including in this theory a theory of learning of concepts, forming thoughts, figuring out relations and so on, with the purpose of explaining the comprehension. Or, said otherwise, the comprehension serves as a pointer to a necessary structure of the mind.
A most prominent example of engineering approach is Kant’s philosophy. Giving to these comprehensions the name of “synthetic a priori judgments”, Kant tries to give a theory of necessary structure of mind which would make those (synthetic a priori judgments) possible.
That’s why I call this approach – engineering approach. The situation is similar to one where an engineer is given a set of functions a machine needs to perform, and now the engineer tries to figure out what kind of machine can perform all those functions. The more precise the requirements are, the less choices the engineer has. In the ultimate case, the engineer would not have much choice, but the requirements would necessitate the design of the machine. There would be only one possible machine which would fulfill the requirements (Add another requirement, and it might become impossible to design a machine that fulfills all requirements). Modern cognitive science would fall in part also in this kind of approach, with the difference that it also uses empirical method. But eventually, both sides should meet – the idea is that we will ultimately be able to show how specific design is able to perform all those functions.

The second kind of account of those comprehensions, is the formalistic account. The universals are taken as expressible as specific formulas in specific formalism, and the truth which we comprehended, is then stated in that formalism as a proposition, and further it is shown how it follows from the formulas we used for the universals (in this case one and two), and bunch of principles of deduction. The example of this kind of account is the one which was started by Frege, and then continued by Russell and others.

One important difference is that engineering approach tries to give account both of the thing comprehended and the comprehension, while the formalistic account is left merely with explaining the comprehended, and isn’t much interested how the comprehension is possible (even sees the issue of comprehension as being psychological question, and not proper philosophical issue).
But as much those two approaches are different, both have one thing in common, that they think that there is a need to go deeper than comprehension. One could say that both approaches “feel” that there is something underlying the comprehension, some kind of form in which the universals are actualized, and that it is because of the nature of this form, that there is a necessary relation between the universals.

But, why should we go deeper? What are we hoping to find? What is that, which is more than clear comprehension of relations between universals? Do we want to do away with the universals? Reduce everything to different forms in one essence?
Much more could be said on this, but this post is already very long, so let me finish with one quote of Hegel:

What we are dealing with in logic is not a thinking about something which exists independently as a base for our thinking and apart from it, nor forms which are supposed to provide mere signs or distinguishing marks of truth; on the contrary, the necessary forms and self-consciousness of thought are the content and the ultimate truth itself.

What should be kept in mind when reading this Hegel’s quote is that by “logic” he doesn’t mean formal logic but the clear thinking of the universals in their relations. Universals as both something thinkable, and something in the world. Hegel’s Logic (Science of Logic), is this attempt then to grasp the relations between the universals, not from outside by translating them as concepts to some form in which we ourselves have set the conditions of what makes a concept, a thought, and what makes the thinking valid and true, and  in which we can then treat them as a mere form, but to comprehend the relation of the universals through what they are in themselves, and how they relate between each other in themselves.

Long live metaphysics!

Clark On Searle On Austin

Clark, over at Mormon Metaphysics has two very interesting posts (first and second part) including few quotes by Searle about Austin, and also short discussion on the Derrida’s take on ordinary language philosophy. Check them out.

Here are also links to two conferences pages, hosting also the papers from the lectures: The History of the Transcendental Turn (which starts day after tomorrow), and the Phenomenology workshop which was in June. Haven’t looked at the papers yet, but titles seem interesting. (via Transcendental Idealism)

J.L.Austin On Ordinary Language As The First, But Not The Last Word

J.L.Austin, Philosophical Papers:

Certainly ordinary language has no claim to be the last word, if there is such a thing. It embodies, indeed, something better than the metaphysics of the Stone Age, namely, as was said, the inherited experience and acumen of many generations of men. But then, that acumen has been concentrated primarily upon the practical business of life. If a distinction works well for practical purposes in ordinary life (no mean feat, for even ordinary life is full of hard cases), then there is sure to be something in it, it will not mark nothing: yet this is likely enough to be not the best way of arranging things if our interests are more extensive or intellectual than ordinary. And again, that experience has been derived only from the sources available to ordinary men throughout civilized history: it has not been fed from the resources of the microscope, and error and fantasy of all kinds do become incorporated in ordinary language and even sometimes stand up to the survival test (only, when they do, why should we not detect it?) Certainly, then, ordinary language is not the last word: in principle it can everywhere be supplemented and improved upon and superseded. Only remember, it is the first word.

Cited in Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy by Avrum Stroll

Green Looks Like Yellow-Under-Blue-Light

Does yellow ball under a blue light look like a green ball under white light? Or is it the case that green ball under white light looks like yellow ball under blue light?
One might be inclined to say that if one sees yellow ball under blue light, he will see the color of the ball “wrongly”, but why assume that the experience of looking at a green ball under white light is somehow right, and the experience of looking at a yellow ball under blue light somehow wrong? There is no reason I can see to give some kind of primacy to the experience of the green ball under white light over the experience of the yellow ball under blue light. We can say that yellow ball under blue light looks like a green ball under white light, but there is nothing wrong to say that in fact it is green ball under white light that looks the same as blue ball under yellow light.

But don’t we learn what “green” means based on our experience of green balls under white light? We probably do, but one can imagine learning what “green” means by ostensive teaching by showing yellow ball under blue light (things can be arranged so that effects of neural adaptation don’t enter the equation). After being taught green in that way, that person can join the linguistic community which has learned “green” based on looking at green things under white light, and there will be no problems. We can imagine even special case in which green color is taught to a student through after-images. And both those “nonstandard” teachings are possible, because learning the word “green” is based on looking somehow of the object; person is not learning word “green” by examining the reflectance properties of the object – and the green ball under white light and yellow ball under blue light look the same.

Saying “yellow ball under blue light” looks the same as “green ball under white light” (and vice versa) we acknowledge an identity. We use “looks the same“, so there is something identical in both situations. Some would say that it is some private mind-thing, i.e. qualia, but we don’t need to imagine existence of such things as qualia. It is the green ball under white light, and the yellow ball under blue light that look the same. So in that simple sentence we see where the identity lies, it is in the looking somehow of the things – Two things can look the same, and there is hardly anything problematic in that.

However some would insist to connect this looking somehow to an objective property, (e.g. reflectance properties of the surface of the objects). But why give primacy to the reflectance characteristics of the green ball over those of the yellow ball, when both, the first under white light, and the second under blue light, look the same? We don’t even need to change the light, we can look at both balls under white light, but take a look at the green ball first, and then look at the yellow ball wearing blue-glass sunglasses. Green ball under white light, and when one doesn’t wear glasses, looks same as yellow ball under white light when one wears blue glasses. And again, there is no reason to put “the way green ball looks under white light if you are not wearing sunglasses” in privileged position to “the way yellow ball looks under white light to one who is wearing blue eyeglasses”.

Thus the first thing that should be acknowledged, in my opinion, in order to clear up this confusion about colors, is that words for colors are based on things looking somehow. As said, nobody gets to analyze reflectance properties of the surface of the objects in order to learn colors. Through ostensive teaching things which look somehow are shown to the learner, and there is nothing but that looking somehow on base of which “the student” learns colors. And because there is nothing else, there isn’t any problem in learning “green” by showing a yellow ball under blue light.

But how are then sentences like “It looks green, but it is really yellow!”, possible?, or which is same – how come we can use colors in sentences like “green ball under white light looks the same as yellow ball under green light”, if the color concepts are learned based on looking somehow of the things ? I will put my thoughts on this issue in some next post…

For now, here is something very rare! A lime looking like a lemon under blue light:

Synthese – Free Numbers

There are a bunch of texts from few numbers of the Synthese journal available on-line in pdf format, apparently till 31 October.
If you don’t have the printed version of the journal, and you find some of the titles in the following list interesting, you can check them here.

Volume 151, Number 3 / August, 2006
– New Perspectives on Reduction and Emergence in Physics, Biology and Psychology

Complementarity cannot resolve the emergence–reduction debate: Reply to Harré – Olivier Massin
Emergence and reduction: Reply to Kim – Ausonio Marras
Emergence: Core ideas and issues – Jaegwon Kim
Emergentism by default: A view from the bench – Ana M. Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein
Explicating pluralism: Where the mind to molecule pathway gets off the track—Reply to Bickle – Huib Looren de Jong
Federalism in science — complementarity vs perspectivism: Reply to Harré – Daniel Andler
Finding a place for elimination in inter-level reductionist activities: Reply to Wimsatt – Pierre Poirier
Functional reduction and emergence in the physical sciences – Alexander Rueger
New perspectives on reduction and emergence in physics, biology and psychology – Max Kistler
Ontology relativized: Reply to Moulines – Stéphanie Ruphy
Ontology, reduction, emergence: A general frame – C. Ulises Moulines
Physicalism and strict implication – Robert Kirk
Physicalism and strict implication – Jürgen Schröder
Post-genomics, between reduction and emergence – Michel Morange
Reducing mind to molecular pathways: explicating the reductionism implicit in current cellular and molecular neuroscience – John Bickle
Reduction and emergence in the physical sciences: Reply to Rueger – Max Kistler
Reduction: the Cheshire cat problem and a return to roots – Kenneth F. Schaffner
Reductionism and its heuristics: Making methodological reductionism honest – William C. Wimsatt
Reply to Ruphy – C. Ulises Moulines
Resolving the emergence-reduction debate – Rom Harré
The dual role of ‘emergence’ in the philosophy of mind and in cognitive science – Achim Stephan
What’s behind a smile? the return of mechanism: Reply to Schaffner – Luc Faucher

Volume 150, Number 3 / June, 2006 – The Logic Of Time and Modality
Arthur Prior and Hybrid Logic – Patrick Blackburn
Logical Connectives for Constructive Modal Logic – Heinrich Wansing
Meredith, Prior, and the History of Possible Worlds Semantics – B. Jack Copeland
Moment/History Duality in Prior’s Logics of Branching-Time – Alberto Zanardo
Operators vs. Arguments: The Ins and Outs of Reification – Antony Galto
The Logic of Location – Peter Simons
The RealIty of Tense – Kit Fine

Volume 149, Number 3 / April, 2006
Compartment Causation – Johannes Persson
Does Anything Hold the Universe Together? – Helen Beebee
Environment-Dependent Content and the Virtues of Causal Explanation – Paul Noordhof
Potency and Modality – Alexander Bird
Science as a Guide to Metaphysics? – Katherine Hawley
The Ungrounded Argument – Stephen Mumford

Volume 148, Number 1 / January, 2006
Anomalous Monism: Oscillating between Dogmas – M. De Pinedo
Bonjour, Externalism and The Regress Problem – José L. Zalabardo
Hume’s Principle and Axiom V Reconsidered: Critical Reflections on Frege and His Interpreters – Matthias Schirn
Probability Dynamics – Amos Nathan
Quantum-mechanical Statistics and the Inclusivist Approach to the Nature of Particulars – Francesco Orilia
The Problem with Token-reflexivity – Stefano Predelli
The Surveyability of Mathematical Proof: A Historical Perspective -O. Bradley Bassler
Truth, Warrant and Superassertibility – Paul Tomassi

Critique of The Critique

Hegel, Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences:

We ought, says Kant, to become acquainted with the instrument, before we undertake the work for which it is to be employed; for if the instrument be insufficient, all our trouble will be spent in vain. The plausibility of this suggestion has won for it general assent and admiration; the result of which has been to withdraw cognition from an interest in its objects and absorption in the study of them, and to direct it back upon itself; and so turn it to a question of form. Unless we wish to be deceived by words, it is easy to see what this amounts to. In the case of other instruments, we can try and criticise them in other ways than by setting about the special work for which they are destined. But the examination of knowledge can only be carried out by an act of knowledge. To examine this so-called instrument is the same thing as to know it. But to seek to know before we know is as absurd as the wise resolution of Scholasticus, not to venture into the water until he had learned to swim.

What Is It Like To Be A Human Brain Attached To Bat’s Senses?

If I haven’t seen red, and somebody tells me that there is color I haven’t seen, and that it is called red – I don’t imagine red color as something which is there in me. It is for me empirical matter… to see red is to become aware of something new.  Not merely to become aware of something that already belongs to me. As I can’t know how Bach’ fugues sound like until I have listened to them, and as I can’t know how Monet’s Sunrise looks like until I have seen it, I feel exactly the same way about the color I have never seen.
If I reflect on possibilities to imagine or remember it, I find it a pointless work – What am I trying to imagine, what am I trying to remember? I don’t know!

But why is it the same case with the colors and with those “complicated” things? For sure there is no reason for Bach’s fugues and Monet’s paintings to be there in my awareness until I have seen them – there is infinity of possible paintings and infinity of musical pieces. But if my brain is hardwired to be able to “receive” this specific number of colors, and there is specific experience “connected” to each of those, why do I see them as empirical? How come I am not aware of them and their possibility from the very start?

Can it be that our mind is universal “experience machine”? If we see simple colors and sounds as empirical, maybe it is because they are really not belonging to the limits of our mind? Can it be that the limits of our eyes, ears, skin etc… are not the limits of our phenomenal experiences – can there be other phenomenal experiences open to our mind?

Maybe those mice will tell us.

Modus Purpureus

I’m presented with two colors today, and I learn them.
I can learn them because they are different, but mere difference is not enough to learn those colors, as if the first is different from the second, the second is in the same way different from the first; and one can’t say which is the first and which is the second if that difference was all there was to them.
The colors are not merely different, but they are somehow, and they are different because they are not same somehow. And in their being somehow, they are not merely different from one another, they are also different from other colors, more similar to some and less similar to others, in their being somehow they are also colors in general.

When I’m recognizing colors, it is because this looking somehow is repeated. Without this looking (or being) somehow which I can recognize, there can be no other base for sameness. Separate “cognitive comparing mechanism” done outside of this looking (being) somehow, can’t provide semantics of being same (or being similar, nor being different for that matter), nor account for our direct awareness of something being same. I don’t passively receive this fact that the color I’m looking at is same with the color I have already seen. This looking (being) somehow is not communicable, it can only be shown. It is not describable in terms of numbers, or in other such abstractions. So again, the recognition of colors can’t be done somewhere else, in some “unconscious” otherness , from which I merely passively receive the result of comparing; recognition is done on this level of looking somehow, I’m aware that it is looking same, and judge it to be looking same, as they do look same, in fact it is the same looking somehow. It transcends my multiple encounters with it.

This possibility for recognition, gives possibility for ostensive teaching. One can’t communicate colors to me, I must notice their looking somehow, and through repeated showing, start to recognize them in their reappearance.

Neither does other kind of relation between colors happen on other level then the awareness. I notice that purple is more similar to red then to green. That fact is there available to my awareness, again not as result of some outside comparing, that color (purple) is more similar to that color (red) than to that other color (green).

This intuitive knowledge is direct and clear, and without need of logical or physical reduction as much as modus ponens.

Something Wrong With The Following Argument?

(1) I see something, and I recognize it as a tree.
(2) What I’m looking at might be a real tree, or might be an illusion. (let’s ignore other possibilities)
(3) If the tree is real, I’m looking at a tree.
(4) If it is an illusion, what I’m seeing is an illusion.

(5) Phenomenally, on the start there is just what I’m looking at. I need to do further inspection, to figure out if what I’m looking at is real, or an illusion.
(6) It is hence a contingent property of what I’m looking at, to be real or illusionary.
(7) Only existent things can have properties (in this case of “being real” and “being illusion” )
( 8 ) Hence what we see exists (as what we see), and it has contingent property of being real, or being illusion.

A comment by Justin made me realize, that maybe I need to further explain the argument… Here is short explanation…

One of the things I want to point to by the argument is the difference between exists/doesn’t exists and real/illusionary distinctions.
In the argument, I am thinking of existence in Russellian sense, addressed formally through existential quantifier.
And in such sense, in case of illusion there is something, and it is somehow.
Take for example two states
(a) where person sees yellow-circle afterimage
(b) where person doesn’t see yellow afterimage
The situations are different because in (a) there is yellow circle afterimage, while in (b) there isn’t. So existential quantifier can be used on illusions (there is illusion vs. there isn’t illusion), but even when there are illusions, those are not real. So, in this way of using existence, it seems to me there is clear difference of nonexistent and illusionary.

I guess the proponents of qualia had already made this kind of arguments, as if one accepts qualia, then one can say that it is the same quale in both cases (illusionary or real tree).
On other hand, I don’t know how qualia-people address the possibility for transparency, i.e. the case where the tree we are seeing is real.

Any comments and pointers on those issues are welcome!

Philosophers attack MySpace!

NC/DC (The Neural Correlates of David Chalmers), a purely philosopher band, now has its page on MySpace. (via Brain Hammer)
Hear songs with titles like Eyes Like Noumena and Evil Demon.
Be sure to check what are their influences.

Probably this is not metaphysics, but after seeing what kind of things blogs categorize as metaphysics, this seems close to how the word is used in ordinary language. So, there… I will put this in metaphysics category.

Wink, Wink – Do You Understand What I Mean?

On Splintered Mind, Eric Schwitzgebel has interesting post about Sentence-Like vs. Map-Like Representations of beliefs, where he discusses the advantages and problems of those two types of representations.
I will cross-post the comment I left there…

Instead of analyzing having a belief, as some kind of statical representation that “suddenly appears” in someones mind/brain-state, it seems to me that it is needed to take a look at the notion of acquiring of belief.
For example, if I hear an uttered sentence by someone I trust,how does that sentence “make its way” to the belief-representation-system (whatever it might be)?
Putting attention to the phenomenology of acquiring the belief on base of that sentence (so explicitly ignoring the issues like implicit learning), it is unproblematical to say that the acquiring of belief is connected to comprehending of what that person is saying to us, understanding of the uttered sentence – understanding what the sentence means.
It seems to me that it is this understanding which can’t be divided from the issue of holding belief – if we trust our friend, we will end up believing what we understood the sentence to mean. Or we can say that understanding the sentence is necessary, but not sufficient for possibility of believing that sentence.
I guess it is obvious, what I want to say now, connected to the problems of representation of a belief. We believe something we understood. The representation of that something will depend on how that something is understood.

There are few things which might be noted here in connection the understanding and belief-representation…
Understanding most times happens, in some kind of motivated communication. That is, our friend is telling us something, because that something matters somehow. In such situation, the understanding involves not merely some superficial understanding of the sentence as some “closed” system, but we can say that we properly understood the sentence if we understand what that fact communicated to us MEANS, i.e. how it matters for us. If we fail to see such connection, we might be puzzled by the fact presented to us, and even ask “What do you mean?”.
So, it seems that always, the presented sentence needs to be understood by its implications. What the sentence means in such ways, should not be seen merely as some semantic content which can be found in the sentence itself, but it has meaning which connects to the seeing of.., well – what it means.
So, if my friend says to me:
“Gary has replaced Georgia as chair”, it might be motivated by my need to know that thing, because it will have consequences on MY work. I.E I need to send some documents to Gary instead to Georgia. Observe that we could say also that IT MEANS that I will nead to send the documents to Gary instead to Georgia.
Or if my friend says to me:
“The mountain peak is actually 15 km north of the river, and not 10 km”, it might be motivated by my need to know that thing, as I will need to go there, so it would MEAN that I need to e.g. leave earlier to get there on time.
But on other side, if we are working in e.g. cable company, the sentence will have different meaning, it would mean that we need to change the calculations of how to e.g. most efficently put the cable between all those places (mountain peak, river, coast, oasis).
This kind of use of “understanding” and “meaning” which is connected to motivated communication, can be also seen in other case in the ordinary language, when after someone has been told something, but doesn’t react as we expect, we can say: -He still doesn’t understand what that means.

So, basicly, I think that holding of a belief, is tightly connected to the understanding. As I said… we can only believe something we understand/comprehend. But this understanding/comprehension as motivated might include (or maybe must include), not just a mechanical remembering of the fact (would that even count as a belief?), but understanding what that fact means (as in – what it means for the person who believes it, for someone he knows, for the other persons -real or imagined, for society, etc…).
So, such understanding might include imagining of spatial relations, or imagination of communications between people, and what not.
It seems to me that acquiring of belief hence is not merely just ending with some static representation in the mind, but usually is more holistic. Involves all those mental processes of acquiring of belief, maybe leave us with problems we need to solve, and so on.