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Cognitive pluralism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-P008-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 10, 2023, from

Article Summary

Descriptive cognitive pluralism claims that different people, or people in different cultures, go about the business of reasoning (that is, forming and revising beliefs) in significantly different ways. If descriptive cognitive pluralism is true, it lends considerable urgency to the venerable philosophical problem of deciding which strategies of belief formation and revision we ourselves should use. Normative cognitive pluralism claims that various quite different systems of reasoning may all be equally good. Epistemic relativism, which claims that different strategies of reasoning are best for different people, is a species of normative cognitive pluralism. Evaluative-concept pluralism claims that different people in different cultures use very different concepts of cognitive evaluation. Their notions of rationality and justification (or the closest equivalents in their culture) are quite different from ours. If this is right, it poses a prima facie challenge to a central strategy in analytic epistemology which tries to arbitrate between different systems of reasoning by determining which system best comports with our own concepts of epistemic evaluation.

Citing this article:
Stich, Stephen P.. Cognitive pluralism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-P008-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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