From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
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. 
- 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> 
- 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. 
It seems that to obtain a sense of 'cognition' requires already having a sense of 'knowledge', 'understanding', 'knowing'.
- "cognition n." The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. Ed. Erin McKean. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
- "cognition." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002.
- cognition Oxford Englisg Dictionary online 2nd ed.