Cognitive Penetration and Cognitive Realism


Episteme, pp.1-16, 2021 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/epi.2021.39
  • Journal Name: Episteme
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Philosopher's Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-16
  • Keywords: Cognitive penetration, cognitive structural realism, free energy principle, theory-ladenness of observation, FREE-ENERGY PRINCIPLE, THEORY-LADENNESS, PERCEPTION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press.The paper addresses the issue of theory-ladenness of observation/experimentation. Motivated by a naturalistic reading of Thomas Kuhn's insights into the same topic, I draw on cognitive neuroscience (predictive coding under Free Energy Principle) to scrutinise theory-ladenness. I equate theory-ladenness with the cognitive penetrability of perceptual inferences and argue that strong theory-ladenness prevails only under uncertain circumstances. This understanding of theory-ladenness is in line with Thomas Kuhn's view on the same subject as well as a cognitive version of modest realism rather than downright antirealism.