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  1. Davidson’s Phenomenological Argument Against the Cognitive Claims of Metaphor.Richmond Kwesi - 2019 - Axiomathes 30:1-24.
    In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness (...)
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  • Epistemic Norms: Truth Conducive Enough.Lisa Warenski - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2721-2741.
    Epistemology needs to account for the success of science. In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that a veritist epistemology is inadequate to this task. She advocates shifting epistemology’s focus away from true belief and toward understanding, and further, jettisoning truth from its privileged place in epistemological theorizing. Pace Elgin, I argue that epistemology’s accommodation of science does not require rejecting truth as the central epistemic value. Instead, it requires understanding veritism in an ecumenical way that acknowledges a rich array of (...)
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  • Simplicity of What? A Case Study From Generative Linguistics.Giulia Terzian & María Inés Corbalán - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9427-9452.
    The Minimalist Program in generative linguistics is predicated on the idea that simplicity is a defining property of the human language faculty, on the one hand; on the other, a central aim of linguistic theorising. Worryingly, however, justifications for either claim are hard to come by in the literature. We sketch a proposal that would allow for both shortcomings to be addressed, and that furthermore honours the program’s declared commitment to naturalism. We begin by teasing apart and clarifying the different (...)
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  • Does Scientific Progress Consist in Increasing Knowledge or Understanding?Seungbae Park - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4):569-579.
    Bird argues that scientific progress consists in increasing knowledge. Dellsén objects that increasing knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific progress, and argues that scientific progress rather consists in increasing understanding. Dellsén also contends that unlike Bird’s view, his view can account for the scientific practices of using idealizations and of choosing simple theories over complex ones. I argue that Dellsén’s criticisms against Bird’s view fail, and that increasing understanding cannot account for scientific progress, if acceptance, as opposed to (...)
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  • The Truth About Better Understanding?Lewis Ross - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute to the upwards trajectory (...)
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  • Understanding Without Justification and Belief?Seungbae Park - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):379–389.
    Dellsén (2016a) argues that understanding requires neither justification nor belief. I object that ridding understanding of justification and belief comes with the following costs. (i) No claim about the world can be inferred from what we understand. (ii) We run into either Moore’s paradox or certain disconcerting questions. (iii) Understanding does not represent the world. (iv) Understanding cannot take the central place in epistemology. (v) Understanding cannot be invoked to give an account of scientific progress. (vi) It is not clear (...)
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  • Scientific Understanding, Fictional Understanding, and Scientific Progress.Seungbae Park - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (1):173–184.
    The epistemic account and the noetic account hold that the essence of scientific progress is the increase in knowledge and understanding, respectively. Dellsén (2018) criticizes the epistemic account (Park, 2017a) and defends the noetic account (Dellsén, 2016). I argue that Dellsén’s criticisms against the epistemic account fail, and that his notion of understanding, which he claims requires neither belief nor justification, cannot explain scientific progress, although it can explain fictional progress in science-fiction.
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  • Do your own research!Neil Levy - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-19.
    Philosophical tradition and conspiracy theorists converge in suggesting that ordinary people ought to do their own research, rather than accept the word of others. In this paper, I argue that it’s no accident that conspiracy theorists value lay research on expert topics: such research is likely to undermine knowledge, via its effects on truth and justification. Accepting expert testimony is a far more reliable route to truth. Nevertheless, lay research has a range of benefits; in particular, it is likely to (...)
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  • Understanding Why, Knowing Why, and Cognitive Achievements.Insa Lawler - 2018 - Synthese (11):4583-4603.
    Duncan Pritchard argues that a feature that sets understanding-why apart from knowledge-why is that whereas (I) understanding-why is a kind of cognitive achievement in a strong sense, (II) knowledge-why is not such a kind. I argue that (I) is false and that (II) is true. (I) is false because understanding-why featuring rudimentary explanations and understanding-why concerning very simple causal connections are not cognitive achievements in a strong sense. Knowledge-why is not a kind of cognitive achievement in a strong sense for (...)
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  • Davidson’s Phenomenological Argument Against the Cognitive Claims of Metaphor.Richmond Kwesi - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (3):341-364.
    In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness (...)
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  • Non-Tethered Understanding and Scientific Pluralism.Rico Hauswald - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (3):371-388.
    I examine situations in which we say that different subjects have ‘different’, ‘competing’, or ‘conflicting understandings’ of a phenomenon. In order to make sense of such situations, we should turn our attention to an often neglected ambiguity in the word ‘understanding’. Whereas the notion of understanding that is typically discussed in philosophy is, to use Elgin’s terms, tethered to the facts, there is another notion of understanding that is not tethered in the same way. This latter notion is relevant because, (...)
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  • Kollektives Verstehen.Rico Hauswald - 2019 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 67 (3):373-391.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie Jahrgang: 67 Heft: 3 Seiten: 373-391.
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  • Scientific Progress and Collective Attitudes.Keith Raymond Harris - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    Psychological-epistemic accounts take scientific progress to consist in the development of some psychological-epistemic attitude. Disagreements over what the relevant attitude is – true belief, knowledge, or understanding – divide proponents of the semantic, epistemic, and noetic accounts of scientific progress, respectively. Proponents of all such accounts face a common challenge. On the face of it, only individuals have psychological attitudes. However, as I argue in what follows, increases in individual true belief, knowledge, and understanding are neither necessary nor sufficient for (...)
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  • Recent Work in the Epistemology of Understanding.Michael Hannon - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):269-290.
    The philosophical interest in the nature, value, and varieties of human understanding has swelled in recent years. This article will provide an overview of new research in the epistemology of understanding, with a particular focus on the following questions: What is understanding and why should we care about it? Is understanding reducible to knowledge? Does it require truth, belief, or justification? Can there be lucky understanding? Does it require ‘grasping’ or some kind of ‘know-how’? This cluster of questions has largely (...)
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  • Understanding and Scientific Progress: Lessons From Epistemology.Nicholas Emmerson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-18.
    Contemporary debate surrounding the nature of scientific progress has focused upon the precise role played by justification, with two realist accounts having dominated proceedings. Recently, however, a third realist account has been put forward, one which offers no role for justification at all. According to Finnur Dellsén’s (Stud Hist Philos Sci Part A 56:72–83, 2016) noetic account, science progresses when understanding increases, that is, when scientists grasp how to correctly explain or predict more aspects of the world that they could (...)
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  • Plumbing Metaphysical Explanatory Depth.Nicholas Emmerson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Recent years have seen increasing interest in interventionist analyses of metaphysical explanation. One area where interventionism traditionally shines, is in providing an account of explanatory depth; the sense in which explanation comes in degrees. However, the literature on metaphysical explanation has left the notion depth almost entirely unexplored. In this paper I shall attempt to rectify this oversight by motivating an interventionist analysis of metaphysical explanatory depth, in terms of the range of interventions under which a metaphysically explanatory generalization remains (...)
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  • Understanding Scientific Progress: The Noetic Account.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11249-11278.
    What is scientific progress? This paper advances an interpretation of this question, and an account that serves to answer it. Roughly, the question is here understood to concern what type of cognitive change with respect to a topic X constitutes a scientific improvement with respect to X. The answer explored in the paper is that the requisite type of cognitive change occurs when scientific results are made publicly available so as to make it possible for anyone to increase their understanding (...)
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  • Scientific Progress: Four Accounts.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12525.
    Scientists are constantly making observations, carrying out experiments, and analyzing empirical data. Meanwhile, scientific theories are routinely being adopted, revised, discarded, and replaced. But when are such changes to the content of science improvements on what came before? This is the question of scientific progress. One answer is that progress occurs when scientific theories ‘get closer to the truth’, i.e. increase their degree of truthlikeness. A second answer is that progress consists in increasing theories’ effectiveness for solving scientific problems. A (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Scientific Conclusions Need Not Be Accurate, Justified, or Believed by Their Authors.Haixin Dang & Liam Kofi Bright - 2021 - Synthese 199:8187–8203.
    We argue that the main results of scientific papers may appropriately be published even if they are false, unjustified, and not believed to be true or justified by their author. To defend this claim we draw upon the literature studying the norms of assertion, and consider how they would apply if one attempted to hold claims made in scientific papers to their strictures, as assertions and discovery claims in scientific papers seem naturally analogous. We first use a case study of (...)
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  • The Rational Dimension of Understanding.Miloud Belkoniene - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-16.
    It is natural to regard understanding as having a rational dimension, in the sense that understanding seems to require having justification for holding certain beliefs about the world. Some philosophers however argue that justification is not required to gain understanding of phenomena. In the present paper, my intention is to provide a critical examination of the arguments that have been offered against the view that understanding requires justification in order to show that, contrary to what they purport to establish, justification (...)
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  • Explicating Objectual Understanding: Taking Degrees Seriously.Christoph Baumberger - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 1:1-22.
    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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  • Explicating Objectual Understanding: Taking Degrees Seriously.Christoph Baumberger - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3):367-388.
    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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  • Understanding Philosophy.Michael Hannon & James Nguyen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    What is the primary intellectual aim of philosophy? The standard view is that philosophy aims to provide true answers to philosophical questions. But if our aim is to settle controversy by answering such questions, our discipline is an embarrassing failure. Moreover, taking philosophy to aim at providing true answers to these questions leads to a variety of puzzles: How do we account for philosophical expertise? How is philosophical progress possible? Why do job search committees not care about the truth or (...)
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  • Scientific Progress Without Justification.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - In Kareem Khalifa, Insa Lawler & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences. Routledge.
    According to some prominent accounts of scientific progress, e.g. Bird’s epistemic account, accepting new theories is progressive only if the theories are justified in the sense required for knowledge. This paper argues that epistemic justification requirements of this sort should be rejected because they misclassify many paradigmatic instances of scientific progress as non-progressive. In particular, scientific progress would be implausibly rare in cases where (a) scientists are aware that most or all previous theories in some domain have turned out to (...)
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  • Towards Ideal Understanding.Mario Hubert & Federica Malfatti - 2022 - Ergo:1-34.
    What does it take to understand a phenomenon ideally, or to the highest conceivable extent? In this paper, we answer this question by arguing for five necessary conditions for ideal understanding: (i) representational accuracy, (ii) intelligibility, (iii) truth, (iv) reasonable endorsement, and (v) fitting. Even if one disagrees that there is some form of ideal understanding, these five conditions can be regarded as sufficient conditions for a particularly deep level of understanding. We then argue that grasping, novel predictions, and transparency (...)
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  • The Ethics of Belief.Andrew Chignell - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The “ ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central question in the debate is whether there are norms of some sort governing our habits of belief formation, belief maintenance, and belief relinquishment. Is it ever or always morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? Is it ever or always morally right to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in (...)
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  • Would Disagreement Undermine Progress?Finnur Dellsén, Insa Lawler & James Norton - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    In recent years, several philosophers have argued that their discipline makes no progress (or not enough in comparison to the ‘hard sciences’). A key argument for this pessimistic position appeals to the purported fact that philosophers widely and systematically disagree on most major philosophical issues. In this paper, we take a step back from the debate about progress in philosophy specifically and consider the general question: How (if at all) would disagreement within a discipline undermine that discipline's progress? We reconstruct (...)
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  • Thinking About Progress: From Science to Philosophy.Finnur Dellsén, Insa Lawler & James Norton - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Is there progress in philosophy? If so, how much? Philosophers have recently argued for a wide range of answers to these questions, from the view that there is no progress whatsoever to the view that philosophy has provided answers to all the big philosophical questions. However, these views are difficult to compare and evaluate, because they rest on very different assumptions about the conditions under which philosophy would make progress. This paper looks to the comparatively mature debate about scientific progress (...)
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  • 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: Springer Verlag.
    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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  • Philosophers and Scientists Are Social Epistemic Agents.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
    In this paper, I reply to Markus Arnold’s comment and Amanda Bryant’s comment on my work “Can Kuhn’s Taxonomic Incommensurability be an Image of Science?” in Moti Mizrahi’s edited collection, The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation?. Philosophers and scientists are social epistemic agents. As such, they ought to behave in accordance with epistemic norms governing the behavior of social epistemic agents.
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