The Philosophy of Metacognition
Mental Agency and Self-Awareness
University Press 2014
Metacognition is cognition about cognition – what we do when we assess our cognitive states, such as wondering whether we’ve remembered a phone number correctly. In The Philosophy of Metacognition: Mental Agency and Self-Awareness (Oxford University Press, 2014) Joelle Proust considers the nature of metacognition from a naturalistic perspective, drawing on recent psychological research as well as a range of philosophical work in philosophy of mind and philosophy of action. In this erudite and comprehensive volume, Proust – a director of research at the Ecole Normale Superieure, in Paris – defends an evaluative or procedural account of metacognition over a metarepresentational account. The former is the most general kind of metacognition, available to at least some non-human animals as well as humans, while the latter mind-reading view is a distinct, more sophisticated capacity that humans also possess. Proust also articulates an intriguing view of mental agency and the epistemic norms that govern mental action, and considers the implications of her positions for some cognitive disorders associated with schizophrenia.