The Latin roots of the term cognition pertain to knowing or recognizing. Although all world traditions engage with knowing and recognizing, use of this specific term and a related lexicon date from the medieval period (Chaney 2013). Cognition became central to Western philosophy when the seventeenth-century French philosopher René Descartes proposed that the constitution of knowledge depends on methodic doubting, an act that in turn produces an experiential consciousness of existence: cogito, ergo sum, or “I think, therefore I am” (Cottingham 1978).

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