Epistemic Cognition and Development: The Psychology of Justification and Truth, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Epistemic Cognition and Development

The Psychology of Justification and Truth, 1st Edition

By David Moshman

Psychology Press

170 pages

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Epistemic cognition, the philosophical core of metacognition, concerns people’s knowledge about the justification and truth of beliefs. Multiple literatures in psychology and education address aspects of epistemic cognition. In the absence of a coherent conceptual framework, however, these literatures mostly fail to communicate with each other and often connect only loosely to genuine epistemology. This complicates any effort to achieve a systematic theoretical understanding of epistemic cognition and its development. Deanna Kuhn writes in her foreword, "Moshman is not the first to take on this challenge, but he fulfills it elegantly and, I think, the most comprehensively and astutely."

After reviewing the basics of philosophical epistemology and cognitive psychology, Epistemic Cognition and Development provides a compelling account of developmental change across childhood and beyond in knowledge about knowledge, especially with regard to fundamental conceptions of objectivity, subjectivity, rationality, justification, and truth. This is followed by detailed consideration of domain-specific epistemologies of science, logic, morality, social convention, history, and identity, including associated forms of reasoning. The final section provides theoretical conclusions, educational and social applications, and suggestions for further research.


This is a terrific book, combining encyclopedic knowledge of the developmental psychology of cognition with a deep grasp of fundamental epistemological issues. Clear, unpretentious, systematic and witty, it offers a much needed framework for understanding epistemic cognition. An important contribution.

--Harvey Siegel, Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami, FL, USA

David Moshman’s book is a comprehensive and eloquent analysis of the construct of epistemic cognition. His book is very engaging as it clarifies complexities utilizing philosophy and psychology literatures. This work is a substantial contribution to developmental and cognitive psychology.

--Pina Tarricone, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Table of Contents

Part I: Epistemology and Cognition

1. The Perils of Pluto

2. The Study of Truth and Justification

3. Cognition and Metacognition

4. Epistemic Cognition

Part II: Epistemic Cognition and Development

5. Epistemic Development in Childhood

6. Epistemic Development Beyond Childhood

Part III: Epistemic Domains

7. Epistemologies of Science and Logic

8. Epistemologies of Morality and Convention

9. Epistemologies of History and Identity

Part IV: The Truth About Truth

10. Theoretical Conclusions

11. Epistemology in Practice

12. Prospects for Research

About the Author

David Moshman is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and book review editor of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. His previous books include Adolescent Rationality and Development: Cognition, Morality, and Identity (3rd edition) and Liberty and Learning: Academic Freedom for Teachers and Students.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / General