Cognitive Capacities and Justification

Alan Millar

in Reasons and Experience

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198242703
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680540 | DOI:
Cognitive Capacities and Justification

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This chapter contrasts the conceptualist approach to epistemology with a so-called nativism. Nativists seek an understanding of the constraints on justified belief through the scientific examination of native cognitive capacities like perception, memory, and concept acquisition. The programme requires a close rapprochement between epistemology and psychology. Indeed, Quine goes so far as to regard epistemology as a chapter of psychology. It is tempting to regard nativism as a new departure. It is shown that Locke and Hume were nativists and that Quine and Goldman are very much in the classical tradition. These case-studies serve to illustrate nativism and thus to the conceptualist approach in relation to past and present work. More importantly, perhaps, they illustrate a problem for nativism.

Keywords: nativisim; conceptualist approach; epistemology; justified belief; perception; memory; concept acquisition; Quine

Chapter.  14814 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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