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  1. Scientific Understanding in the Aharonov‐Bohm Effect.Elay Shech - 2022 - Theoria 88 (5):943-971.
    By appealing to resources found in the scientific understanding literature, I identify in what senses idealisations afford understanding in the context of the (magnetic) Aharonov-Bohm effect. Three types of concepts of understanding are discussed: understanding-what, which has to do with understanding a phenomenon; understanding-with, which has to do with understanding a scientific theory; and understanding-why, which has to do with the reason some phenomenon occurs. Consequently, I outline an account of understanding-with that is suggested by the historical controversy surrounding the (...)
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  • From Explanation to Understanding: Normativity Lost?Henk Regt - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3):327-343.
    In recent years, scientific understanding has become a focus of attention in philosophy of science. Since understanding is typically associated with the pragmatic and psychological dimensions of explanation, shifting the focus from explanation to understanding may induce a shift from accounts that embody normative ideals to accounts that provide accurate descriptions of scientific practice. Not surprisingly, many ‘friends of understanding’ sympathize with a naturalistic approach to the philosophy of science. However, this raises the question of whether the proposed theories of (...)
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  • Understanding Climate Change with Statistical Downscaling and Machine Learning.Julie Jebeile, Vincent Lam & Tim Räz - 2020 - Synthese (1-2):1-21.
    Machine learning methods have recently created high expectations in the climate modelling context in view of addressing climate change, but they are often considered as non-physics-based ‘black boxes’ that may not provide any understanding. However, in many ways, understanding seems indispensable to appropriately evaluate climate models and to build confidence in climate projections. Relying on two case studies, we compare how machine learning and standard statistical techniques affect our ability to understand the climate system. For that purpose, we put five (...)
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  • From Explanation to Understanding: Normativity Lost?Henk W. de Regt - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3):327-343.
    In recent years, scientific understanding has become a focus of attention in philosophy of science. Since understanding is typically associated with the pragmatic and psychological dimensions of explanation, shifting the focus from explanation to understanding may induce a shift from accounts that embody normative ideals to accounts that provide accurate descriptions of scientific practice. Not surprisingly, many ‘friends of understanding’ sympathize with a naturalistic approach to the philosophy of science. However, this raises the question of whether the proposed theories of (...)
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  • Rational Understanding: Toward a Probabilistic Epistemology of Acceptability.Finnur Dellsén - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2475-2494.
    To understand something involves some sort of commitment to a set of propositions comprising an account of the understood phenomenon. Some take this commitment to be a species of belief; others, such as Elgin and I, take it to be a kind of cognitive policy. This paper takes a step back from debates about the nature of understanding and asks when this commitment involved in understanding is epistemically appropriate, or ‘acceptable’ in Elgin’s terminology. In particular, appealing to lessons from the (...)
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  • Conceptual Re-Engineering: From Explication to Reflective Equilibrium.Georg Brun - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):925-954.
    Carnap and Goodman developed methods of conceptual re-engineering known respectively as explication and reflective equilibrium. These methods aim at advancing theories by developing concepts that are simultaneously guided by pre-existing concepts and intended to replace these concepts. This paper shows that Carnap’s and Goodman’s methods are historically closely related, analyses their structural interconnections, and argues that there is great systematic potential in interpreting them as aspects of one method, which ultimately must be conceived as a component of theory development. The (...)
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  • Reflective Equilibrium and Understanding.Christoph Baumberger & Georg Brun - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7923-7947.
    Elgin has presented an extensive defence of reflective equilibrium embedded in an epistemology which focuses on objectual understanding rather than ordinary propositional knowledge. This paper has two goals: to suggest an account of reflective equilibrium which is sympathetic to Elgin’s but includes a range of further developments, and to analyse its role in an account of understanding. We first address the structure of reflective equilibrium as a target state and argue that reflective equilibrium requires more than an equilibrium in the (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Understanding. A Contextualist Approach.Marcus Bachmann - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):75-98.
    This paper aims to provide a unifying approach to the analysis of understanding coherencies (interrogative understanding, e.g. understanding why something is the case) and understanding subject matters (objectual understanding) by highlighting the contextualist nature of understanding. Inspired by the relevant alternatives contextualism about knowledge, I will argue that understanding (in the above mentioned sense) inherently has context-sensitive features and that a theory of understanding that highlights those features can incorporate our intuitions towards understanding as well as consolidate the different accounts (...)
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  • What's the Point of Understanding?Michael Hannon - 2019 - In What’s the Point of Knowledge?
    What is human understanding and why should we care about it? I propose a method of philosophical investigation called ‘function-first epistemology’ and use this method to investigate the nature and value of understanding-why. I argue that the concept of understanding-why serves the practical function of identifying good explainers, which is an important role in the general economy of our concepts. This hypothesis sheds light on a variety of issues in the epistemology of understanding including the role of explanation, the relationship (...)
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