How navigation systems transform epistemic virtues: Knowledge, issues and solutions

Alexander James Gillett*, Richard Heersmink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we analyse how GPS-based navigation systems are transforming some of our intellectual virtues and then suggest two strategies to improve our practices regarding the use of such epistemic tools. We start by outlining the two main approaches in virtue epistemology, namely virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. We then discuss how navigation systems can undermine five epistemic virtues, namely memory, perception, attention, intellectual autonomy, and intellectual carefulness. We end by considering two possible interlinked ways of trying to remedy this situation: [i] redesigning the epistemic tool to improve the epistemic virtues of memory, perception, and attention; and [ii] the cultivation of cognitive diligence for wayfinding tasks scaffolding intellectual autonomy and carefulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Systems Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioural geography
  • Cognitive artifacts
  • Cognitive diligence
  • Cognitive science
  • Design
  • GPS devices
  • Navigation
  • Route knowledge
  • Spatial cognition
  • Survey knowledge
  • Virtue epistemology
  • Wayfinding technology


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