Chapter

On the Cognitive Bases of Knowledge Ascriptions

Mikkel Gerken

in Knowledge Ascriptions

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693702
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741265 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693702.003.0007
On the Cognitive Bases of Knowledge Ascriptions

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The chapter develops an epistemic focal bias account of certain patterns of judgments about knowledge ascriptions by integrating it with a general dual process framework of human cognition. According to such account, judgments about knowledge ascriptions are generally reliable but systematically fallible, as the cognitive processes that generate them are affected by what is in focus. Some puzzling patters of judgments about knowledge ascriptions and sketching show how a basic focal bias account seeks to account for them as compatible with strict invariantism. It is argued that the basic focal bias account should be integrated in a more general framework of human cognition. Central aspects of a prominent general dual process theory of human cognition are presented, with discussion of how focal bias figures at various levels of processing. A provisional categorization of the relevant judgments about knowledge ascriptions is outlined. It is argued that the basic epistemic focal bias account of certain contrast effects and salient alternatives effects can be plausibly integrated with the dual process framework. The absence of strong intuitions in cases of far-fetched salient alternatives is explained. Some methodological issues concerning the relationship between cognitive psychology, experimental data and epistemological theorizing are considered.

Keywords: knowledge ascriptions; strict invariantism; cognitive psychology; dual process theory; cognitive illusions; epistemic focal bias

Chapter.  14508 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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