Cognition and Epistemic Reliability: Comments on Goldman

The paper provisionally accepts the goal of Goldman's primary epistemics, which is to seek reliability values for basic cognitive processes, and questions whether such values may plausibly be expected. The reliability of such processes as perception and memory is dependent on other aspects of cognitive structure, and especially on one's "conceptual scheme," the evaluation of which goes beyond primary epistemics (and its dependence on cognitive science) to social epistemics, or indeed to traditional epistemology and philosophy of science. Two general arguments against the plausibility of determining reliability values for the basic cognitive architecture of humans are proposed, one applying Fodor's distinction between input and central systems, and the other invoking a point by Geertz about culture and evolution. Social epistemics is only briefly evaluated, as it is nascent.
Keywords Primary epistemics  Social epistemics  Basic cognitive architecture  Input vs. central systems  Belief-fixer  Method-fixer  Cultural dependence of cognition  Fodor, J A  Geertz, C  Goldman, A I
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Alvin I. Goldman (1986). The Cognitive and Social Sides of Epistemology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:295 - 311.
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