Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Arthur Millman

Second Advisor

Lynne Tirrell

Third Advisor

John Murray


In this paper I argue that many of the cognitive problems (such as "low self-esteem," "permanent anxiety," "bad learning strategies," "student-teacher conflict of values," or "motivational deficit") that interfere with problem solving are rooted in individuals' philosophically naive views of how their own intelligence works and can be overcome through development of an adequate philosophical competence. Accordingly, I attempt a delineation of the scientific prescription for overcoming these problems, metacognition, in terms of concepts of contemporary' philosophy' of language. Four scientific concepts were examined, including M. V. Covington's concept of strategic thinking, J. Lochhead's concept of the role of verbalization in thinking, R. Paul's concept of conceptualization and elements of thought, and M. Lipman's concept of the role of philosophy, in children's early cognitive development, which all consider overcoming of cognitive problems. Four philosophical concepts were examined, including L. Wittgenstein's early concept of the correct use of language, his later concept of language games, J. Searle's concept of speech acts, and R. Rorty's concept of the speech acts, and R. Rorty's concept of the political answer to philosophical questions, which all consider overcoming of traditional philosophical problems. In the scientific views, cognitive problems are explained by individuals' inadequate personal epistemology and overcome through the mind's activity, metacognition, which involves knowledge of how one's intelligence works, or a concept of cognition and a utilization of this knowledge in any new problematic situation. Similarly, in the philosophical views, philosophical problems are generally explained by "misuse of the logic of language" and overcome by mediation of what I called the philosophical methodology of dissolution, which I interpreted as involving both an appropriate concept of cognition and a permanent utilization of this concept. Thus, the delineation of the concept of metacognition in philosophical terms becomes possible, given that cognitive problems qualify better for the competence of philosophy than for the expertise of science. By means of J. Habermas' concept of "philosophy as a mediating interpreter" I conceptualized both philosophical and cognitive problems as problems of mediation which come into being in the exchange of expertise on two presupposed levels of discourse and activity, respectively, expert culture and everyday communication. Since the problems of mediation are conceived of as remaining out of the scope of the expert fields but in the scope of philosophy as an non-expert field, the latter was used to provide with its competence the problem solving practices which deal with such problems on the level of everyday communication. Then, I illustrate an overcoming of cognitive problems by mediation of the philosophical methodology of dissolution which I examine and represent in the form of the scientific concept of metacognition as a sequence of explanation and application of a philosophical concept of cognition which in this case is a compositional philosophical concept of language.