, Volume 191, Issue 8, pp 1931–1951 | Cite as

Knowledge and cognitive integration

  • Spyridon Orestis PalermosEmail author


Cognitive integration is a defining yet overlooked feature of our intellect that may nevertheless have substantial effects on the process of knowledge-acquisition. To bring those effects to the fore, I explore the topic of cognitive integration both from the perspective of virtue reliabilism within externalist epistemology and the perspective of extended cognition within externalist philosophy of mind and cognitive science. On the basis of this interdisciplinary focus, I argue that cognitive integration can provide a minimalist yet adequate epistemic norm of subjective justification: so long as the agent’s belief-forming process has been integrated in his cognitive character, the agent can be justified in holding the resulting beliefs merely by lacking any doubts there was something wrong in the way he arrived at them. Moreover, since both externalist philosophy of mind and externalist epistemology treat the process of cognitive integration in the same way, we can claim that epistemic cognitive characters may extend beyond our organismic cognitive capacities to the artifacts we employ or even to other agents we interact with. This move is not only necessary for accounting for advanced cases of knowledge that is the product of the operation of epistemic artifacts or the interactive activity of research teams, but it can further lead to interesting ramifications both for social epistemology and philosophy of science.


Knowledge Cognitive integration Subjective justification Virtue reliabilism Cognitive character Extended cognition Epistemic group agency 



I am very thankful to John Greco and an anonymous referee for detailed comments on pervious versions of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Extended Knowledge ProjectUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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