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Metacognition of Inferential Transitions

Citation: Shea, Nicholas (2023) Metacognition of Inferential Transitions. Journal of Philosophy .

A reasoning process is more than an unfolding causal chain. Although some thoughts cause others in virtue of their contents, paradigmatic cases of personal level inference involve something more, some appreciation that the conclusion follows from the premises. Both first-order processes and second-order beliefs have proven problematic or inadequate to account for the phenomenon. Thus, here I argue for an intermediate position, according to which an epistemic feeling, a form of procedural metacognition, plays this role. Extensive psychological research has shown that epistemic feelings are involved in monitoring many kinds of cognitive process, affecting how the processes unfold. Inferences may be no different. Inferences are also plausibly accompanied by an epistemic feeling, in particular a feeling of reliability or unreliability. Such a feeling accounts for the phenomenological datum. It can also play a significant epistemic role for the thinker.

Creators: Shea, Nicholas (0000-0002-2032-5705) and
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: metacogntion, inference, reasoning, concepts
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
  • 20 June 2023 (accepted)


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