What It's Like To Have a Cognitive Home

European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):66-81 (2018)
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Many people believe that the mind is an epistemic refuge of sorts. The idea is that when it comes to certain core mental states, one’s being in such a state automatically puts one in a position to know that one is in that state. This idea has come under attack in recent years. One particularly influential attack comes from Timothy Williamson (2000), who argues that there is no central core of states or conditions—mental or otherwise—to which we are guaranteed epistemic access. In Williamson’s words, we are cognitively homeless. In this paper I will argue that Williamson’s argument for the conclusion that we are cognitively homeless fails. Then I will show that there is a class of phenomenal states that constitutes a substantial cognitive refuge. When all is said and done, I will have both defended and shed light on our cognitive home.

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Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College


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