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Understanding

In D. Pritchard S. Berneker (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge (2011)

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  1. Grounding and a priori epistemology: challenges for conceptualism.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4).
    Traditional rationalist approaches to a priori epistemology have long been looked upon with suspicion for positing a faculty of rational intuition capable of knowing truths about the world apart from experience. Conceptualists have tried to fill this void with something more empirically tractable, arguing that we know a priori truths due to our understanding of concepts. All of this theorizing, however, has carried on while neglecting an entire cross section of such truths, the grounding claims that we know a priori. (...)
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  • Where is the understanding?Adam Toon - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3859-3875.
    Recent work in epistemology and philosophy of science has argued that understanding is an important cognitive state that philosophers should seek to analyse. This paper offers a new perspective on understanding by looking to work in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Understanding is normally taken to be inside the head. I argue that this view is mistaken. Often, understanding is a state that criss-crosses brain, body and world. To support this claim, I draw on extended cognition, a burgeoning framework (...)
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  • Varieties of Metaphysical Coherentism.Jan Swiderski - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-26.
    According to metaphysical coherentism, grounding relations form an interconnected system in which things ground each other and nothing is ungrounded. This potentially viable view’s logical territory remains largely unexplored. In this paper, I describe that territory by articulating four varieties of metaphysical coherentism. I do not argue for any variety in particular. Rather, I aim to show that not all issues which might be raised against coherentism will be equally problematic for all the versions of that view, which features far (...)
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  • Understanding Versus Explanation? How to Think about the Distinction between the Human and the Natural Sciences.Karsten R. Stueber - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):17 - 32.
    Abstract This essay will argue systematically and from a historical perspective that there is something to be said for the traditional claim that the human and natural sciences are distinct epistemic practices. Yet, in light of recent developments in contemporary philosophy of science, one has to be rather careful in utilizing the distinction between understanding and explanation for this purpose. One can only recognize the epistemic distinctiveness of the human sciences by recognizing the epistemic centrality of reenactive empathy for our (...)
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  • Teaching and telling.Will Small - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (3):372-387.
    Recent work on testimony has raised questions about the extent to which testimony is a distinctively second-personal phenomenon and the possible epistemic significance of its second-personal aspects. However, testimony, in the sense primarily investigated in recent epistemology, is far from the only way in which we acquire knowledge from others. My goal is to distinguish knowledge acquired from testimony (learning from being told) from knowledge acquired from teaching (learning from being taught), and to investigate the similarities and differences between the (...)
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  • Lucky understanding without knowledge.Yasha Rohwer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (5):1-15.
    Can one still have understanding in situations that involve the kind of epistemic luck that undermines knowledge? Kvanvig (The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003; in: Haddock A, Miller A, Pritchard D (eds) Epistemic value, 2009a; in: Haddock A, Miller A, Pritchard D (eds) Epistemic value, 2009b) says yes, Prichard (Grazer Philos Stud 77:325–339, 2008; in: O’Hear A (ed) Epistemology, 2009; in: Pritchard D, Millar A, Haddock A (eds) The nature and value of knowledge: three investigations, 2010) (...)
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  • Varieties of Epistemic Risk.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (1):9-23.
    My interest is in how shifting from an anti-luck epistemology to an anti-risk epistemology can enable us to make sense of some important epistemic phenomena. After rehearsing the more general arguments for preferring anti-risk epistemology over its anti-luck cousin, I argue that a further advantage of this transition lies in how it puts us in a better position to understand certain trade-offs with regard to epistemic risk. In particular, there can be ways of forming beliefs that are epistemically low risk (...)
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  • Intellectual virtue and its role in epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1-20.
    An overview is presented of what I take to be the role of the intellectual virtues within the epistemological enterprise. Traditionally, the theory of knowledge has been thought to be central to the epistemological project, but since, as I explain, the intellectual virtues aren’t required for knowledge, this might suggest that they have only a marginal role to play in epistemological debates. I argue against this suggestion by showing how the intellectual virtues are in fact crucial to several core epistemological (...)
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  • Analytic anachronism in The world philosophy made.Aaron Preston - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (6):2109-2118.
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  • The diverse aims of science.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:71-80.
    There is increasing attention to the centrality of idealization in science. One common view is that models and other idealized representations are important to science, but that they fall short in one or more ways. On this view, there must be an intermediary step between idealized representation and the traditional aims of science, including truth, explanation, and prediction. Here I develop an alternative interpretation of the relationship between idealized representation and the aims of science. In my view, continuing, widespread idealization (...)
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  • The Pragmatic Turn in Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI).Andrés Páez - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (3):441-459.
    In this paper I argue that the search for explainable models and interpretable decisions in AI must be reformulated in terms of the broader project of offering a pragmatic and naturalistic account of understanding in AI. Intuitively, the purpose of providing an explanation of a model or a decision is to make it understandable to its stakeholders. But without a previous grasp of what it means to say that an agent understands a model or a decision, the explanatory strategies will (...)
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  • The Pragmatic Turn in Explainable Artificial Intelligence.Andrés Páez - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (3):441-459.
    In this paper I argue that the search for explainable models and interpretable decisions in AI must be reformulated in terms of the broader project of offering a pragmatic and naturalistic account of understanding in AI. Intuitively, the purpose of providing an explanation of a model or a decision is to make it understandable to its stakeholders. But without a previous grasp of what it means to say that an agent understands a model or a decision, the explanatory strategies will (...)
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  • Imagination in science.Alice Murphy - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12836.
    While discussions of the imagination have been limited in philosophy of science, this is beginning to change. In recent years, a vast literature on imagination in science has emerged. This paper surveys the current field, including the changing attitudes towards the scientific imagination, the fiction view of models, how the imagination can lead to knowledge and understanding, and the value of different types of imagination. It ends with a discussion of the gaps in the current literature, indicating avenues for future (...)
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  • Belief, Knowledge and Understanding.Frederik Moreira-dos-Santos & Charbel N. El-Hani - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (3-4):215-245.
    This article discusses how to deal with the relations between different cultural perspectives in classrooms, based on a proposal for considering understanding and knowledge as goals of science education, inspired by Dewey’s naturalistic humanism. It thus combines educational and philosophical interests. In educational terms, our concerns relate to how science teachers position themselves in multicultural classrooms. In philosophical terms, we are interested in discussing the relations between belief, understanding, and knowledge under the light of Dewey’s philosophy. We present a synthesis (...)
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  • Explanation and the Nature of Scientific Knowledge.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Science & Education 24 (7-8):827-854.
    Explaining phenomena is a primary goal of science. Consequently, it is unsurprising that gaining a proper understanding of the nature of explanation is an important goal of science education. In order to properly understand explanation, however, it is not enough to simply consider theories of the nature of explanation. Properly understanding explanation requires grasping the relation between explanation and understanding, as well as how explanations can lead to scientific knowledge. This article examines the nature of explanation, its relation to understanding, (...)
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  • Why Think for Yourself?Jonathan Matheson - 2022 - Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology:1-19.
    Life is a group project. It takes a village. The same is true of our intellectual lives. Since we are finite cognitive creatures with limited time and resources, any healthy intellectual life requires that we rely quite heavily on others. For nearly any question you want to investigate, there is someone who is in a better epistemic position than you are to determine the answer. For most people, their expertise does not extend far beyond their own personal lives, and even (...)
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  • On Understanding and Testimony.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1345-1365.
    Testimony spreads information. It is also commonly agreed that it can transfer knowledge. Whether it can work as an epistemic source of understanding is a matter of dispute. However, testimony certainly plays a pivotal role in the proliferation of understanding in the epistemic community. But how exactly do we learn, and how do we make advancements in understanding on the basis of one another’s words? And what can we do to maximize the probability that the process of acquiring understanding from (...)
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  • Do We Deserve Credit for Everything We Understand?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2021 - 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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  • 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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  • Scientific understanding and felicitous legitimate falsehoods.Insa Lawler - 2021 - Synthese 198 (7):6859-6887.
    Science is replete with falsehoods that epistemically facilitate understanding by virtue of being the very falsehoods they are. In view of this puzzling fact, some have relaxed the truth requirement on understanding. I offer a factive view of understanding that fully accommodates the puzzling fact in four steps: (i) I argue that the question how these falsehoods are related to the phenomenon to be understood and the question how they figure into the content of understanding it are independent. (ii) I (...)
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  • Open‐Mindedness as Engagement.Jack M. C. Kwong - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):70-86.
    Open-mindedness is an under-explored topic in virtue epistemology, despite its assumed importance for the field. Questions about it abound and need to be answered. For example, what sort of intellectual activities are central to it? Can one be open-minded about one's firmly held beliefs? Why should we strive to be open-minded? This paper aims to shed light on these and other pertinent issues. In particular, it proposes a view that construes open-mindedness as engagement, that is, a willingness to entertain novel (...)
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  • Epistemic Authority, Preemptive Reasons, and Understanding.Christoph Jäger - 2016 - Episteme 13 (2):167-185.
    One of the key tenets of Linda Zagzebski’s book " Epistemic Authority" is the Preemption Thesis. It says that, when an agent learns that an epistemic authority believes that p, the rational response for her is to adopt that belief and to replace all of her previous reasons relevant to whether p by the reason that the authority believes that p. I argue that such a “Hobbesian approach” to epistemic authority yields problematic results. This becomes especially virulent when we apply (...)
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  • Understanding Understanding: An Epistemological Investigation.Mikael Janvid - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (4):971-985.
    Understanding has received growing interest from epistemologists in recent years, but no consensus regarding its epistemic properties has yet been reached. This paper extracts, but also rejects, candidates of epistemic properties for construing an epistemological model of understanding from the writings of epistemologists participating in the current discussion surrounding that state. On the basis of these results, a suggestion is put forward according to which understanding is a non-basic epistemic state of warrant rather than knowledge. It is argued that this (...)
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  • Knowledge versus Understanding: The Cost of Avoiding Gettier.Mikael Janvid - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (2):183-197.
    In the current discussion on epistemic value, several philosophers argue that understanding enjoys higher epistemological significance and epistemic value than knowledge—the epistemic state the epistemological tradition has been preoccupied with. By noting a tension between the necessary conditions for understanding in the perhaps most prominent of these philosophers, Jonathan Kvanvig, this paper disputes the higher epistemological relevance of understanding. At the end, on the basis of the results of the previous sections, some alternative comparative contrasts between knowledge and understanding are (...)
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  • Properties in sight and in thought.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2019 - Synthese 198 (8):7049-7071.
    The main focus of acquaintance theorists has been the nature and mechanism of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. Generally, one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with general features has taken its bearings from one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. This has led to the glossing over of significant differences in the mechanisms of perceptual acquaintance with particulars and with general features. The difference in mechanisms suggests a difference in the sort of epistemic state at play in the two kinds of cases. (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Is knowledge of causes sufficient for understanding?Xingming Hu - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):291-313.
    ABSTRACT: According to a traditional account, understanding why X occurred is equivalent to knowing that X was caused by Y. This paper defends the account against a major objection, viz., knowing-that is not sufficient for understanding-why, for understanding-why requires a kind of grasp while knowledge-that does not. I discuss two accounts of grasp in recent literature and argue that if either is true, then knowing that X was caused by Y entails at least a rudimentary understanding of why X occurred. (...)
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  • Hempel on Scientific Understanding.Xingming Hu - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (8):164-171.
    Hempel seems to hold the following three views: (H1) Understanding is pragmatic/relativistic: Whether one understands why X happened in terms of Explanation E depends on one's beliefs and cognitive abilities; (H2) Whether a scientific explanation is good, just like whether a mathematical proof is good, is a nonpragmatic and objective issue independent of the beliefs or cognitive abilities of individuals; (H3) The goal of scientific explanation is understanding: A good scientific explanation is the one that provides understanding. Apparently, H1, H2, (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Why Study History? On Its Epistemic Benefits and Its Relation to the Sciences.Stephen R. Grimm - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (3):399-420.
    I try to return the focus of the philosophy of history to the nature of understanding, with a particular emphasis on Louis Mink’s project of exploring how historical understanding compares to the understanding we find in the natural sciences. On the whole, I come to a conclusion that Mink almost certainly would not have liked: that the understanding offered by history has a very similar epistemic profile to the understanding offered by the sciences, a similarity that stems from the fact (...)
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  • Wisdom.Stephen R. Grimm - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):1-16.
    What is it that makes someone wise, or one person wiser than another? I argue that wisdom consists in knowledge of how to live well, and that this knowledge of how to live well is constituted by various further kinds of knowledge. One concern for this view is that knowledge is not needed for wisdom but rather some state short of knowledge, such as having rational or justified beliefs about various topics. Another concern is that the emphasis on knowing how (...)
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  • The Value of Understanding.Stephen Grimm - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (2):103-117.
    Over the last several years a number of leading philosophers – including Catherine Elgin, Linda Zagzebski, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Duncan Pritchard – have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the contemporary focus on knowledge in epistemology and have attempted to “recover” the notion of understanding. According to some of these philosophers, in fact, understanding deserves not just to be recovered, but to supplant knowledge as the focus of epistemological inquiry. This entry considers some of the main reasons why philosophers have taken understanding (...)
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  • Is There Propositional Understanding?Emma C. Gordon - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (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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  • A Hybrid Account of Scientific Progress: Finding Middle Ground Between the Epistemic and the Noetic Accounts.Clara Goebel - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):1-16.
    Whereas the progressive nature of science is widely recognised, specifying the standards of scientific progress has been subject to philosophical debate since the enlightenment. Recently, Ilkka Niiniluoto, Alexander Bird, and Finnur Dellsén have revived this debate by setting forward a semantic, epistemic and noetic account of scientific progress respectively. I argue that none of these accounts is satisfactory. The semantic and epistemic accounts might advance necessary conditions for scientific progress, namely an accumulation of true, justified, and non-Gettiered beliefs, but fail (...)
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  • Accuracy and Interpretability: Struggling with the Epistemic Foundations of Machine Learning-Generated Medical Information and Their Practical Implications for the Doctor-Patient Relationship.Florian Funer - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (1):1-20.
    The initial successes in recent years in harnessing machine learning technologies to improve medical practice and benefit patients have attracted attention in a wide range of healthcare fields. Particularly, it should be achieved by providing automated decision recommendations to the treating clinician. Some hopes placed in such ML-based systems for healthcare, however, seem to be unwarranted, at least partially because of their inherent lack of transparency, although their results seem convincing in accuracy and reliability. Skepticism arises when the physician as (...)
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  • Maria Montessori's Epistemology.Patrick R. Frierson - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):767-791.
    This paper lays out the epistemology of Maria Montessori . I start with what I call Montessori's ‘interested empiricism’, her empiricist emphasis on the foundational role of the senses combined with her insistence that all cognition is infused with ‘interest’. I then discuss the unconscious. Partly because of her emphasis on early childhood, Montessori puts great emphasis on unconscious cognitive processes and develops a conceptual vocabulary to make sense of the continuity between conscious and unconscious processes. The final sections turn (...)
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  • The missing G.Erez Firt - 2020 - AI and Society 35 (4):995-1007.
    Artificial general intelligence is not a new notion, but it has certainly been gaining traction in recent years, and academic as well as industry resources are redirected to research in AGI. The main reason for this is that current AI techniques are limited as they are designed to operate in specific problem-domains, following meticulous preparation. These systems cannot operate in an unknown environment or under conditions of uncertainty, reuse knowledge gained in another problem domain, or autonomously learn and understand the (...)
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  • Descriptive understanding and prediction in COVID-19 modelling.Johannes Findl & Javier Suárez - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (4):1-31.
    COVID-19 has substantially affected our lives during 2020. Since its beginning, several epidemiological models have been developed to investigate the specific dynamics of the disease. Early COVID-19 epidemiological models were purely statistical, based on a curve-fitting approach, and did not include causal knowledge about the disease. Yet, these models had predictive capacity; thus they were used to ground important political decisions, in virtue of the understanding of the dynamics of the pandemic that they offered. This raises a philosophical question about (...)
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  • The Mark of Understanding: In Defense of an Ability Account.Sven Delarivière & Bart Van Kerkhove - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (5):619-648.
    Understanding is a valued trait in any epistemic practice, scientific or not. Yet, when it comes to characterizing its nature, the notion has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. We have set ourselves three tasks in this paper. First, we defend the importance of this endeavor. Second, we consider and criticize a number of proposals to this effect. Third, we defend an alternative account, focusing on abilities as the proper mark of understanding.
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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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  • 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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  • Virtuous Insightfulness.J. Adam Carter - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4).
    Insight often strikes us blind; when we aren’t expecting it, we suddenly see a connection that previously eluded us—a kind of ‘Aha!’ experience. People with a propensity to such experiences are regarded as insightful, and insightfulness is a paradigmatic intellectual virtue. What’s not clear, however, is just what it is in virtue of which being such that these experiences tend to happen to one renders one intellectually virtuous. This paper draws from both virtue epistemology as well as empirical work on (...)
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  • Understanding a communicated thought.J. Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & J. P. Grodniewicz - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):12137-12151.
    The goal of this paper is twofold. First, we argue that the understanding one has of a proposition or a propositional content of a representational vehicle is a species of what contemporary epistemologists characterise as objectual understanding. Second, we demonstrate that even though this type of understanding differs from linguistic understanding, in many instances of successful communication, these two types of understanding jointly contribute to understanding a communicated thought.
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  • The Epistemology of Cognitive Enhancement.J. Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (2):220-242.
    A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held b y both proponents and critics of non-traditional forms of cognitive enhancement is that cognitive enhancement aims at the facilitation of the accumulation of human knowledge. This paper does three central things. First, drawing from recent work in epistemology, a rival account of cognitive enhancement, framed in terms of the notion of cognitive achievement rather than knowledge, is proposed. Second, we outline and respond to an axiological objection to our proposal that draws (...)
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  • Sosa versus Kornblith on Grades of Knowledge.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - forthcoming - Synthese.
    In a series of works Ernest Sosa (see Sosa 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) has defended the view that there are two kinds or ‘grades’ of knowledge, animal and reflective. One of the most persistent critics of Sosa’s attempts to bifurcate knowledge is Hilary Kornblith (see Kornblith 2004, 2009, 2012). Our aim in this paper is to outline and evaluate Kornblith’s criticisms. We will argue that, while they raise a range of difficult (exegetical and substantive) questions about Sosa’s (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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