Life change through attitude
A propositional attitude is a relational mental state connecting a person to a proposition. They are often assumed to be the simplest components of thought and can express meanings or content that can be true or false. In being a type of attitude they imply that a person can have different mental postures towards a proposition, for example, believing, desiring, or hoping, and thus they imply intentionality.

Linguistically, they are denoted by an embedded "that" clause, for example, 'Sally believed that she had won'.

Propositional attitudes have directions of fit: some are meant to reflect the world, others to influence it.
What a proposition is, is one thing. How we feel about it, or how we regard it, is another. We can accept it, assert it, believe it, command it, contest it, declare it, deny it, doubt it, enjoin it, exclaim it, expect it, imagine it, intend it, know it, observe it, prove it, question it, suggest it, or wish it were so. Different attitudes toward propositions are called propositional attitudes, and they are also discussed under the headings of intentionality and linguistic modality.

Many problematic situations in real life arise from the circumstance that many different propositions in many different modalities are in the air at once. In order to compare propositions of different colors and flavors, as it were, we have no basis for comparison but to examine the underlying propositions themselves. Thus we are brought back to matters of language and logic. Despite the name, propositional attitudes are not regarded as psychological attitudes proper, since the formal disciplines of linguistics and logic are concerned with nothing more concrete than what can be said in general about their formal properties and their patterns of interaction.

One topic of central concern is the relation between the modalities of assertion and belief, perhaps with intention thrown in for good measure. For example, we frequently find ourselves faced with the question of whether a person's assertions conform to his or her beliefs. Discrepancies here can occur for many reasons, but when the departure of assertion from belief is intentional, we usually call that a lie.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Transformation. The Official Guide to Transformation is Christopher Carrick. Christopher Carrick works with people who are undergoing spiritual transformation. Sometimes this shows up as a life crisis, such as the breakup of a relationship, struggles in their work or dealing with the dying process.

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