Here and there I come across singular countable nouns with no article accompanying them. Why? Is there any rule for that? An example is the word "belief" in the following sentence:

Goldman says, “S has perceptual knowledge if and only if not only does his perceptual mechanism produce true belief, but there are no relevant counterfactual situations in which the same belief would be produced via an equivalent percept and in which the belief would be false”. (Source)

  • Google uncountable nouns. – Peter Shor Dec 6 '17 at 21:39
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    Countability is not a property associated primarily with a noun but with a usage. 'I like coffee but dislike cocoa' shows two non-count usages whereas 'Three coffees and two cocoas, please' shows two count usages of the same nouns. The first occurrence of 'belief' in your extract is certainly a non-count usage. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 6 '17 at 21:54
  • @EdwinAshworth So is there any criteria to spot non-count usages? – Sasan Dec 6 '17 at 22:34
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    That usage is non-count because it doesn't have an article in front of it. To figure out which usages are count and non-count, you need to look in a dictionary. – Peter Shor Dec 8 '17 at 14:13
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    Actually, thinking about it some more, I think this usage of believe should really be categorized as count, and it should read a true belief. But the use of these words in philosophy is far enough away from their usage in ordinary English that it's hard for me to say. – Peter Shor Dec 9 '17 at 13:18

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