Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Dienes & Perner: Implicit and explicit knowledge

What's really doing the work here? Knowledge representation or the Higher-Order Thought theory of consciousness?

Gerard O'Brien a1 and Jonathan Opie a1
a1 Department of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia {gobrien; [email protected]{gobrien; jopie}.htm


Dienes & Perner offer us a theory of explicit and implicit knowledge that promises to systematise a large and diverse body of research in cognitive psychology. Their advertised strategy is to unpack this distinction in terms of explicit and implicit representation. But when one digs deeper one finds the “Higher-Order Thought” theory of consciousness doing much of the work. This reduces both the plausibility and usefulness of their account. We think their strategy is broadly correct, but that consensus on the explicit/implicit knowledge distinction is still a fair way off.