The Cognitive Philosophy of Reflection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hilary Kornblith argues that many traditional philosophical accounts involve problematic views of reflection (understood as second-order mental states). According to Kornblith, reflection does not add reliability, which makes it unfit to underlie a separate form of knowledge. We show that a broader understanding of reflection, encompassing Type 2 processes, working memory, and episodic long-term memory, can provide philosophy with elucidating input that a restricted view misses. We further argue that reflection in fact often does add reliability, through generalizability, flexibility, and creativity that is helpful in newly encountered situations, even if the restricted sense of both reflection and knowledge is accepted. And so, a division of knowledge into one reflexive (animal) form and one reflective form remains a plausible, and possibly fruitful, option.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Naturalistic epistemology, Hilary Kornblith, Reflection
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 12
Publication categoryResearch

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