The Epistemological Spectrum: At the Interface of Cognitive Science and Conceptual Analysis

David K. Henderson, Terence Horgan

Research output: Book/ReportBook

49 Scopus citations


This book argues for several dramatic breaks with the epistemological tradition, while also arguing for significant continuity with epistemology as it has come to be practiced. At important junctures, the book finds a way of "going between" the commonly conceived epistemological alternatives. The result is both a retentive and a revisionary account of various matters: (i) of the character of a priori reflective inquiry, (ii) of conceptual analysis as a form of a priori inquiry and as a cornerstone of philosophical methodology, (iii) of reliabilism, (iv) of epistemological internalism and epistemological externalism, (v) of epistemically relevant, evidence-sensitive, cognitive processes, (vi) of both epistemic foundationalism and coherentism, and (vii) of the role of a priori, a posteriori, and empirical elements within epistemological theorizing itself. "The epistemological spectrum" comprises inquiry ranging from a priori reflection on concepts such as epistemic justification and knowledge to richly empirical work within cognitive science. The conceptual truths regarding justification (for one example) serve to orient a fitting naturalized epistemology, while empirical information is necessarily involved in arriving at determinate specification of what processes are fitting and justificatory of beliefs. The book argues for this "big-tent" understanding of naturalized epistemology. It also illustrates it while arriving at a distinctive form of reliabilism, an importantly expansive view of the range and character of information on which human epistemic agents can and must rely, and a principled way of reconciling what are commonly thought to be incompatible positions such as foundationalism and coherentism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages304
ISBN (Electronic)9780191729584
ISBN (Print)9780199608546
StatePublished - Sep 22 2011


  • A priori
  • Coherentism
  • Contextualism
  • Epistemic externalism
  • Epistemic internalism
  • Epistemology
  • Foundationalism
  • Iceberg epistemology
  • Justification
  • Low-grade a priori
  • Morphological content
  • Naturalized epistemology
  • Reliabilism
  • Transglobal reliabilism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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