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Cognition is described as the the mental process of knowing, which includes the faculties of awareness, perception, reasoning, intuition and judgment.

Let us review how the lexicographers report on how we use of the word, cognition:

  • the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. A result of this; a perception, sensation, notion, or intuition. [1]
  • a: cognitive mental processes; specifically : the intellectual process by which knowledge is gained about perceptions or ideas -- distinguished from affection and conation; b: a conscious intellectual act <conflict between cognitions> [2]
  • Philos. a. The action or faculty of knowing taken in its widest sense, including sensation, perception, conception, etc., as distinguished from feeling and volition; also, more specifically, the action of cognizing an object in perception proper. b. A product of such an action: a sensation, perception, notion, or higher intuition. [3]

It seems that to obtain a sense of 'cognition' requires already having a sense of 'knowledge', 'understanding', 'knowing'.


  1. "cognition n." The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. Ed. Erin McKean. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
  2. "cognition." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.
  3. cognition Oxford Englisg Dictionary online 2nd ed.

Also see