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Transmitting Understanding and Know-How

In Stephen Hetherington & Nicholas D. Smith (eds.), What the Ancients Offer to Contemporary Epistemology. New York, USA: Routledge (2020)

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  1. In What Sense is Understanding an Intellectual Virtue?Xingming Hu - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5883-5895.
    In this paper, I distinguish between two senses of “understanding”: understanding as an epistemic good and understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind. I argue that understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind is an intellectual virtue while understanding as an epistemic good is not. Finally, I show how the distinction can help us better appreciate Aristotle’s account of intellectual virtue.
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  • The social fabric of understanding: equilibrium, authority, and epistemic empathy.Christoph Jäger & Federica Isabella Malfatti - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    We discuss the social-epistemic aspects of Catherine Elgin’s theory of reflective equilibrium and understanding and argue that it yields an argument for the view that a crucial social-epistemic function of epistemic authorities is to foster understanding in their communities. We explore the competences that enable epistemic authorities to fulfil this role and argue that among them is an epistemic virtue we call “epistemic empathy”.
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  • The Epistemic Value of Understanding-Why.Xingming Hu - forthcoming - Episteme:1-17.
    Some philosophers recently have objected that veritism cannot explain the epistemic value of understanding-why. And they have proposed two anti-veritist accounts. In this paper, I first introduce their objection and argue that it fails. Next, I consider a strengthened version of their objection and argue that it also fails. After that, I suggest a new veritist account: Understanding-why entails believing the truth that what is grasped is accurate, and it is this true belief, along with many other true beliefs understanding-why (...)
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  • Do We Deserve Credit for Everything We Understand?Federica Isabella Malfatti - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    It is widely acknowledged in the literature in social epistemology that knowledge has a social dimension: we are epistemically dependent upon one another for most of what we know. Our knowledge can be, and very often is, grounded on the epistemic achievement of somebody else. But what about epistemic aims other than knowledge? What about understanding? Prominent authors argue that understanding is not social in the same way in which knowledge is. Others can put us in the position to understand, (...)
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  • Conservatism: Toward a Traditionalist Normative Epistemology.Ewan John Burns - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    Conservatism’s core claim is that traditions play an important, if not essential, role in the acquisition of normative knowledge. However, that thesis has never been adequately defended. Three things are missing from conservative political thought: a traditionalist account of propositional normative knowledge, an explicit and sustained positive argument for traditions’ role in the acquisition of normative knowledge, and deference to relevant work in other areas of philosophy, especially epistemology. In this thesis, I provide an argument for conservatism which remedies each (...)
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  • Can Testimony Transmit Understanding?Federica I. Malfatti - 2020 - Theoria 86 (1):54-72.
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  • Can Testimony Generate Understanding?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2019 - Social Epistemology 33 (6):477-490.
    Can we gain understanding from testifiers who themselves fail to understand? At first glance, this looks counterintuitive. How could a hearer who has no understanding or very poor understanding of a certain subject matter non-accidentally extract items of information relevant to understanding from a speaker’s testimony if the speaker does not understand what she is talking about? This paper shows that, when there are theories or representational devices working as mediators, speakers can intentionally generate understanding in their hearers by engaging (...)
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