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  1. The Concept of Understanding in Jaspers and Contemporary Epistemology.M. Ashraf Adeel - 2015 - Existenz 10 (1).
    In the General Psychopathology Jaspers famously draws a distinction between the understandable and explainable. Meaningful connections between psychic events, he argues, can only be understood empathetically and cannot be explained causally. The idea behind this distinction, according to some interpreters at least, seems to be that psychic events do not fall under any general causal rules whereas ordinary events do fall under such rules. Also Jaspers distinguishes empathetic understanding of the connection between two psychic events from a mere interpretation of (...)
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  2. Explicating Objectual Understanding: Taking Degrees Seriously.Christoph Baumberger - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    The paper argues that an account of understanding should take the form of a Carnapian explication and acknowledge that understanding comes in degrees. An explication of objectual understanding is defended, which helps to make sense of the cognitive achievements and goals of science. The explication combines a necessary condition with three evaluative dimensions: An epistemic agent understands a subject matter by means of a theory only if the agent commits herself sufficiently to the theory of the subject matter, and to (...)
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  3. The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.David Bourget - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318.
    One sometimes believes a proposition without grasping it. For example, a complete achromat might believe that ripe tomatoes are red without grasping this proposition. My aim in this paper is to shed light on the difference between merely believing a proposition and grasping it. I focus on two possible theories of grasping: the inferential theory, which explains grasping in terms of inferential role, and the phenomenal theory, which explains grasping in terms of phenomenal consciousness. I argue that the phenomenal theory (...)
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  4. Environmental Luck and the Structure of Understanding.Kenneth Boyd - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    Conventional wisdom holds that there is no lucky knowledge: if it is a matter of luck, in some relevant sense, that one’s belief that p is true, then one does not know that p. One sense of luck that is generally recognized to be incompatible with knowledge is environmental luck. While knowledge has traditionally been the primary interest of epistemologists, understanding has recently been receiving significant attention. While there is as of yet little consensus regarding a theory of understanding, one (...)
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  5. Testifying Understanding.Kenneth Boyd - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):103-127.
    While it is widely acknowledged that knowledge can be acquired via testimony, it has been argued that understanding cannot. While there is no consensus about what the epistemic relationship of understanding consists in, I argue here that regardless of how understanding is conceived there are kinds of understanding that can be acquired through testimony: easy understanding and easy-s understanding. I address a number of aspects of understanding that might stand in the way of being able to acquire understanding through testimony, (...)
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  6. Pictorial Art and Epistemic Aims.Jochen Briesen - 2014 - In Harald Klinke (ed.), Art Theory as Visual Epistemology. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 11-28.
    The question whether art is of any epistemic value is an old question in the philosophy of art. Whereas many contemporary artists, art-critics, and art-historians answer this question affirmatively, many contemporary philosophers remain skeptical. If art is of epistemic significance, they maintain, then it has to contribute to our quest of achieving our most basic epistemic aim, namely knowledge.Unfortunately, recent and widely accepted analyses of knowledge make it very hard to see how art might significantly contribute to the quest of (...)
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  7. Relativism, Knowledge and Understanding.J. Adam Carter - 2014 - Episteme 11 (1):35-52.
    The arguments for and against a truth-relativist semantics for propositional knowledge attributions (KTR) have been debated almost exclusively in the philosophy of language. But what implications would this semantic thesis have in epistemology? This question has been largely unexplored. The aim of this paper is to establish and critique several ramifications of KTR in mainstream epistemology. The first section of the paper develops, over a series of arguments, the claim that MacFarlane's (2005, 2010) core argument for KTR ultimately motivates (for (...)
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  8. On Pritchard, Objectual Understanding and the Value Problem.J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Duncan Pritchard (2008, 2009, 2010, forthcoming) has argued for an elegant solution to what have been called the value problems for knowledge at the forefront of recent literature on epistemic value. As Pritchard sees it, these problems dissolve once it is recognized that that it is understanding-why, not knowledge, that bears the distinctive epistemic value often (mistakenly) attributed to knowledge. A key element of Pritchard’s revisionist argument is the claim that understanding-why always involves what he calls strong cognitive achievement—viz., cognitive (...)
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  9. A New Maneuver Against the Epistemic Relativist.J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8).
    Epistemic relativists often appeal to an epistemic incommensurability thesis. One notable example is the position advanced by Wittgenstein in On certainty (1969). However, Ian Hacking’s radical denial of the possibility of objective epistemic reasons for belief poses, we suggest, an even more forceful challenge to mainstream meta-epistemology. Our central objective will be to develop a novel strategy for defusing Hacking’s line of argument. Specifically, we show that the epistemic incommensurability thesis can be resisted even if we grant the very insights (...)
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  10. On Cognitive and Moral Enhancement: A Reply to Savulescu and Persson.J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon - 2014 - Bioethics 28 (1):153-161.
    In a series of recent works, Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson insist that, given the ease by which irreversible destruction is achievable by a morally wicked minority, (i) strictly cognitive bio-enhancement is currently too risky, while (ii) moral bio-enhancement is plausibly morally mandatory (and urgently so). This article aims to show that the proposal Savulescu and Persson advance relies on several problematic assumptions about the separability of cognitive and moral enhancement as distinct aims. Specifically, we propose that the underpinnings of (...)
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  11. Is Intuition Based On Understanding?[I Thank Jo].Elijah Chudnoff - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):42-67.
    According to the most popular non-skeptical views about intuition, intuitions justify beliefs because they are based on understanding. More precisely: if intuiting that p justifies you in believing that p it does so because your intuition is based on your understanding of the proposition that p. The aim of this paper is to raise some challenges for accounts of intuitive justification along these lines. I pursue this project from a non-skeptical perspective. I argue that there are cases in which intuiting (...)
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  12. Philosophy, Science and the Value of Understanding.Tim Crane - 2015 - In The Future of the Humanities in Higher Education: What is the Point of Philosophy?
    The best definition of philosophy, in my opinion, was given by Wilfrid Sellars fifty years ago: ‘The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term’. This definition does not get us very far; and nor should we expect it to (after all, as Nietzsche said, only that which has no history can be defined). But it does give us something to (...)
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  13. Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding is (...)
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  14. Understanding in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: A Complicated Relationship. [REVIEW]Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):195-198.
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  15. Deductive Cogency, Understanding, and Acceptance.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3121-3141.
    Deductive Cogency holds that the set of propositions towards which one has, or is prepared to have, a given type of propositional attitude should be consistent and closed under logical consequence. While there are many propositional attitudes that are not subject to this requirement, e.g. hoping and imagining, it is at least prima facie plausible that Deductive Cogency applies to the doxastic attitude involved in propositional knowledge, viz. belief. However, this thought is undermined by the well-known preface paradox, leading a (...)
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  16. Scientific Progress, Understanding, and Knowledge: Reply to Park.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):451-459.
    Dellsén has recently argued for an understanding-based account of scientific progress, the noetic account, according to which science makes cognitive progress precisely when it increases our understanding of some aspect of the world. I contrast this account with Bird’s ; epistemic account, according to which such progress is made precisely when our knowledge of the world is increased or accumulated. In a recent paper, Park criticizes various aspects of my account and his arguments in favor of the noetic account as (...)
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  17. Understanding Without Justification or Belief.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):239-254.
    In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest among epistemologists in the nature of understanding, with some authors arguing that understanding should replace knowledge as the primary focus of epistemology. But what is understanding? According to what is often called the standard view, understanding is a species of knowledge. Although this view has recently been challenged in various ways, even the critics of the standard view have assumed that understanding requires justification and belief. I argue that it requires (...)
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  18. Scientific Progress: Knowledge Versus Understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:72-83.
    What is scientific progress? On Alexander Bird’s epistemic account of scientific progress, an episode in science is progressive precisely when there is more scientific knowledge at the end of the episode than at the beginning. Using Bird’s epistemic account as a foil, this paper develops an alternative understanding-based account on which an episode in science is progressive precisely when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world at the end of the episode than at the (...)
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  19. Realism and Anti-Realism About Experiences of Understanding.Jordan Dodd - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):745-767.
    Strawson (1994) and Peacocke (1992) introduced thought experiments that show that it seems intuitive that there is, in some way, an experiential character to mental events of understanding. Some (e.g., Siewert 1998, 2011; Pitt 2004) try to explain these intuitions by saying that just as we have, say, headache experiences and visual experiences of blueness, so too we have experiences of understanding. Others (e.g., Prinz 2006, 2011; Tye 1996) propose that these intuitions can be explained without positing experiences of understanding. (...)
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  20. Is There Propositional Understanding?Emma C. Gordon - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 8 (2):181-192.
    Literature in epistemology tends to suppose that there are three main types of understanding – propositional, atomistic, and objectual. By showing that all apparent instances of propositional understanding can be more plausibly explained as featuring one of several other epistemic states, this paper argues that talk of propositional understanding is unhelpful and misleading. The upshot is that epistemologists can do without the notion of propositional understanding.
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  21. The Importance of Understanding Each Other in Philosophy.Sebastian Sunday Grève - 2015 - Philosophy 90 (2):213-239.
    What is philosophy? How is it possible? This essay constitutes an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of what might be a good answer to either of these questions by reflecting on one particular characteristic of philosophy, specifically as it presents itself in the philosophical practice of Socrates, Plato and Wittgenstein. Throughout this essay, I conduct the systematic discussion of my topic in parallel lines with the historico-methodological comparison of my three main authors. First, I describe a certain neglected (...)
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  22. Understanding as an Intellectual Virtue.Stephen Grimm - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), Routledge Companion to Virtue Epistemology. New York, USA: Routledge.
    In this paper I elucidate various ways in which understanding can be seen as an excellence of the mind or intellectual virtue. Along the way, I take up the neglected issue of what it might mean to be an “understanding person”—by which I mean not a person who understands a number of things about the natural world, but a person who steers clear of things like judgmentalism in her evaluation of other people, and thus is better able to take up (...)
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  23. "Understanding and Transparency".Stephen R. Grimm - forthcoming - In Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives From Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    I explore the extent to which the epistemic state of understanding is transparent to the one who understands. Against several contemporary epistemologists, I argue that it is not transparent in the way that many have claimed, drawing on results from developmental psychology, animal cognition, and other fields.
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  24. On Intellectualism in Epistemology.Stephen R. Grimm - 2011 - Mind 120 (479):705-733.
    According to ‘orthodox’ epistemology, it has recently been said, whether or not a true belief amounts to knowledge depends exclusively on truth-related factors: for example, on whether the true belief was formed in a reliable way, or was supported by good evidence, and so on. Jason Stanley refers to this as the ‘intellectualist’ component of orthodox epistemology, and Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath describe it as orthodox epistemology’s commitment to a ‘purely epistemic’ account of knowledge — that is, an account (...)
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  25. Understanding.Stephen R. Grimm - 2011 - In D. Pritchard S. Berneker (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge.
    This entry offers a critical overview of the contemporary literature on understanding, especially in epistemology and the philosophy of science.
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  26. Limning Structure as an Epistemic Goal.Allan Hazlett - manuscript
    In the Phaedrus, Socreates sympathetically describes the ability “to cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints, and to try not to splinter any part, as a bad butcher might do.” (265e) In contemporary philosophy, Ted Sider (2009, 2011) defends the same idea. As I shall put it, Plato and Sider’s idea is that limning structure is an epistemic goal. My aim in this paper is to articulate and defend this idea. First, I’ll articulate the notion (...)
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  27. Must Understanding Be Coherent?Kareem Khalifa - 2016 - In Stephen Grimm, Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining understanding: new perspectives from epistemology and philosophy of science. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 139-164.
    Several authors suggest that understanding and epistemic coherence are tightly connected. Using an account of understanding that makes no appeal to coherence, I explain away the intuitions that motivate this position. I then show that the leading coherentist epistemologies only place plausible constraints on understanding insofar as they replicate my own account’s requirements. I conclude that understanding is only superficially coherent.
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  28. Is Understanding Explanatory or Objectual?Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1153-1171.
    Jonathan Kvanvig has argued that “objectual” understanding, i.e. the understanding we have of a large body of information, cannot be reduced to explanatory concepts. In this paper, I show that Kvanvig fails to establish this point, and then propose a framework for reducing objectual understanding to explanatory understanding.
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  29. Understanding, Grasping, and Luck.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - Episteme 10 (1):1-17.
    Recently, it has been debated as to whether understanding is a species of explanatory knowledge. Those who deny this claim frequently argue that understanding, unlike knowledge, can be lucky. In this paper I argue that current arguments do not support this alleged compatibility between understanding and epistemic luck. First, I argue that understanding requires reliable explanatory evaluation, yet the putative examples of lucky understanding underspecify the extent to which subjects possess this ability. In the course of defending this claim, I (...)
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  30. A Plea for Understanding.Guy Longworth - 2009 - In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in the Philosophy of Language. Palgrave.
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  31. Understanding and Coming to Understand.Michael Lynch - forthcoming - In Stephen Grimm (ed.), Making Sense of the World: New Essays on the Philosophy of Understanding. Oxford University Press.
    Many philosophers take understanding to be a distinctive kind of knowledge that involves grasping dependency relations; moreover, they hold it to be particularly valuable. This paper aims to investigate and address two well-known puzzles that arise from this conception: (1) the nature of understanding itself—in particular, the nature of “grasping”; (2) the source of understanding’s distinctive value. In what follows, I’ll argue that we can shed light on both puzzles by recognizing first, the importance of the distinction between the act (...)
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  32. Understanding the Progress of Science.C. D. McCoy - manuscript
    This paper develops a problem-solving account of scientific progress that takes understanding as the principal epistemic aim of science. It examines a recent paper of Bird's on scientific progress, argues for the primacy of understanding over knowledge in this context, illustrates the account using a Kuhnian picture of science, and defends it against knowledge reductionism.
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  33. Visual Information and Scientific Understanding.Nicola Mößner - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (2):167-179.
    Without doubt, there is a widespread usage of visualisations in science. However, what exactly the _epistemic status_ of these visual representations in science may be remains an open question. In the following, I will argue that at least some scientific visualisations are indispensible for our cognitive processes. My thesis will be that, with regard to the activity of _learning_, visual representations are of relevance in the sense of contributing to the aim of _scientific_ _understanding_. Taking into account that understanding can (...)
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  34. Augustine on the Varieties of Understanding and Why There is No Learning From Words.Tamer Nawar - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 3:1-31.
    This paper examines Augustine’s views on language, learning, and testimony in De Magistro. It is often held that, in De Magistro, Augustine is especially concerned with explanatory understanding (a complex cognitive state characterized by its synoptic nature and awareness of explanatory relations) and that he thinks testimony is deficient in imparting explanatory understanding. I argue against this view and give a clear analysis of the different kinds of cognitive state Augustine is concerned with and a careful examination of his arguments (...)
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  35. Explanation and Understanding.Angela Potochnik - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
    Michael Strevens offers an account of causal explanation according to which explanatory practice is shaped by counterbalanced commitments to representing causal influence and abstracting away from overly specific details. In this paper, I challenge a key feature of that account. I argue that what Strevens calls explanatory frameworks figure prominently in explanatory practice because they actually improve explanations. This suggestion is simple but has far-reaching implications. It affects the status of explanations that cite multiply realizable properties; changes the explanatory role (...)
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  36. Moral Understanding and Knowledge.Amber Riaz - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):113-128.
    Moral understanding is a species of knowledge. Understanding why an action is wrong, for example, amounts to knowing why the action is wrong. The claim that moral understanding is immune to luck while moral knowledge is not does not withstand scrutiny; nor does the idea that there is something deep about understanding for there are different degrees of understanding. It is also mistaken to suppose that grasping is a distinct psychological state that accompanies understanding. To understand why something is the (...)
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  37. Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli and Kai Eigner , Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009. Pp. Ix+352. ISBN 978-0-8229-4378-6. $65.00. [REVIEW]Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Science 44 (4):578-580.
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  38. Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. [REVIEW]Jacob Stegenga - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Science 44 (4):578-580.
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  39. The Noetic Account of Scientific Progress and the Factivity of Understanding.Fabio Sterpetti - 2018 - In David Danks & Emiliano Ippoliti (eds.), Building Theories. Heuristics and Hypotheses in Sciences. Cham:
    There are three main accounts of scientific progress: 1) the epistemic account, according to which an episode in science constitutes progress when there is an increase in knowledge; 2) the semantic account, according to which progress is made when the number of truths increases; 3) the problem-solving account, according to which progress is made when the number of problems that we are able to solve increases. Each of these accounts has received several criticisms in the last decades. Nevertheless, some authors (...)
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  40. Psychiatric Explanation and Understanding.Tim Thornton - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1):95-111.
    Jaspers’s binary distinction between understanding and explanation has given way first to a proliferation of explanatory levels and now, in John Campbell’s recent work, to a conception of explanation with no distinct levels of explanation and no inbuilt rationality requirement. I argue that there is still a role for understanding in psychiatry and that is to demystify the assumption that the states it concerns are mental. This role can be fulfilled by placing rationality at the heart of understanding without a (...)
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  41. Trivial Truths and the Aim of Inquiry.NicK Treanor - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):552-559.
    A pervasive and influential argument appeals to trivial truths to demonstrate that the aim of inquiry is not the acquisition of truth. But the argument fails, for it neglects to distinguish between the complexity of the sentence used to express a truth and the complexity of the truth expressed by a sentence.
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  42. Technê and Understanding.Cheng-Hung Tsai - 2014 - National Taiwan University Philosophical Review 47:39-60.
    How can we acquire understanding? Linda Zagzebski has long claimed that understanding is acquired through, or arises from, mastering a particular practical technê. In this paper, I explicate Zagzebski’s claim and argue that the claim is problematic. Based on a critical examination of Zagzebski’s claim, I propose, in conclusion and in brief, a new claim regarding the acquisition of understanding.
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  43. Linguistic Communication Versus Understanding.Xinli Wang - 2009 - Philosophia: International Journal of Philosophy (Philippine e-journal) 78 (1):71-84.
    It is a common wisdom that linguistic communication is different from linguistic understanding. However, the distinction between communication and understanding is not as clear as it seems to be. It is argued that the relationship between linguistic communication and understanding depends upon the notions of understanding and communication involved. Thinking along the line of propositional understanding and informative communication, communication can be reduced to mutual understanding. In contrast, operating along the line of hermeneutic understanding and dialogical communication, the process of (...)
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  44. Conceptual Schemes and Presuppositional Languages.Xinli Wang - 2007 reprint - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:119-124.
    The current discussions of conceptual schemes and related topics are misguided; for they are based on a tacit assumption that the difference between two schemes consists in the different distributions in truth-values. I argue that what should concern us, in the discussions of conceptual schemes and related issues, is not truth-values of assertions, but rather the truth-value-status of the sentences used to make the assertions. This is because the genuine conceptual innovation between alternative theories or languages does not lie in (...)
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  45. Presuppositional Languages and the Failure of Cross-Language Understanding.Xinli Wang - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (1):53-77.
    Why is mutual understanding between two substantially different comprehensive language communities often problematic and even unattainable? To answer this question, the author first introduces a notion of presuppositional languages. Based on the semantic structure of a presuppositional language, the author identifies a significant condition necessary for effective understanding of a language: the interpreter is able to effectively understand a language only if he/she is able to recognize and comprehend its metaphysical presuppositions. The essential role of the knowledge of metaphysical presuppositions (...)
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  46. The Propositional Vs. Hermeneutic Models of Cross-Cultural Understanding.Xinli Wang & Ling Xu - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):312-331.
    What the authors attempt to address in this paper is a Kantian question: not whether, but how is cross -cultural understanding possible? And specifically, what is a more effective approach for cross -cultural understanding? The answer lies in an analysis of two different models of cross -cultural understanding, that is, propositional and hermeneutic understanding. To begin with, the author presents a linguistic interpretation of culture, i.e., a culture as a linguistically formulated and transmitted symbolic system with its conceptual core as (...)
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  47. The Understanding.John P. Wright - 2013 - In James A. Harris (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 148-70.
    The article discusses the varying conceptions of the faculty of ‘the understanding’ in 18th-century British philosophy and logic. Topics include the distinction between the understanding and the will, the traditional division of three acts of understanding and its critics, the naturalizing of human understanding, conceiving of the limits of human understanding, British innatism and the critique of empiricist conceptions of the understanding, and reconceiving the understanding and the elimination of scepticism. Authors discussed include Richard Price, James Harris, Zachary Mayne, Edward (...)
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