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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E pistemology [from Latin cognitio , awareness, or the formation of the ideas of something] Cognitio is usually translated as “knowledge”; but this is not precise. While “knowledge” is also used to translate “scientia,” Descartes distinguished cognition from knowledge ( scientia ), for much of our cognition is confused and inadequate. Spinoza distinguished among three grades of cognition. The first grade is composed of mere second-hand opinion, imagination and cognition derived from shifting experience. This kind of cognition admits of falsity. The second grade is reason ( ratio ), which seeks the underlying reason or cause of phenomena, and to find necessary truths. The third and highest grade is intuitive knowledge ( scientia intuitive ), which advances from adequate ideas of the essence of attributes to the adequate knowledge of the essence of things. The distinction between intuitive knowledge and reason roughly corresponds to Aristotle 's distinction between nous , which grasps the first principles, and apodeixis (demonstration), which involves deduction from the established first principles. In general philosophical usage, cognition comprises those states and processes leading to knowledge and is distinguished from sensation, feeling, and volition. In contemporary cognitive psychology and cognitive science , cognition is viewed as the representational state ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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