Extended knowledge, the recognition heuristic, and epistemic injustice

Mark Alfano, Joshua August Skorburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter argues that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. It explains the recognition heuristic as studied by Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to the cognitive agent. Having connected the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, it argues that the recognition heuristic is best understood as an instance of scaffolded cognition. It considers the double-edged sword of cognitive scaffolding before using Fricker’s (2007) concept of epistemic injustice to characterize the nature and harm of these false inferences, emphasizing the Darfur Inference. Finally, it uses data-mining and an empirical study to show how Gigerenzer’s population estimation task is liable to produce Darfur Inferences. It ends with some speculative remarks on more important Darfur Inferences, and how to avoid them by scaffolding better.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtended Epistemology
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780198769811
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Darfur
  • Epistemic injustices
  • Extended knowledge
  • Media
  • Recognition heuristic

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