The Epistemic Role of Core Cognition

Philosophical Review 129 (2):251-298 (2020)
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Abstract
According to a traditional picture, perception and belief have starkly different epistemic roles. Beliefs have epistemic statuses as justified or unjustified, depending on how they are formed and maintained. In contrast, perceptions are “unjustified justifiers.” Core cognition is a set of mental systems that stand at the border of perception and belief, and has been extensively studied in developmental psychology. Core cognition's borderline states do not fit neatly into the traditional epistemic picture. What is the epistemic role of these states? Focusing on the core object system, the author argues that core object representations have epistemic statuses like beliefs do, despite their many prototypically perceptual features. First, the author argues that it is a sufficient condition on a mental state's having an epistemic status as justified or unjustified that the state is based on reasons. Then the author argues that core object representations are based on reasons, through an examination of both experimental results and key markers of the basing relation. The scope of mental states that are subject to epistemic evaluation as justified or unjustified is not restricted to beliefs.
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Archival date: 2020-09-28
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2020-04-19

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