Belief-Forming Processes, Extended
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We very often grant that a person can gain knowledge on the basis of epistemic artifacts such as telescopes, microscopes and so on. However, this intuition threatens to undermine virtue reliabilism according to which one knows that p if and only if one’s believing the truth that p is the product of a reliable cognitive belief-forming process; in an obvious sense epistemic artifacts are not parts of one’s overall cognitive system. This is so, unless the extended cognition hypothesis (HEC) is true. According to HEC when parts of the environment become properly coupled to the agent’s brain then they too can be considered constitutive parts of the overall cognitive mechanism—i.e. cognition potentially extends to the world surrounding the agent. Interestingly, HEC and the broader framework of virtue reliabilism share some intriguing similarities, which render these two views mutually supportive. Making these similarities explicit provides a principled account of the way in which our knowledge-conducive cognitive characters may extend beyond our natural cognitive capacities by incorporating epistemic artifacts.