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  1. 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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  • Defending Nonreductionism About Understanding.Michele Palmira - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):222-231.
    In this note I defend nonreductionism about understanding by arguing that knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding. To do so, I examine Paulina Sliwa’s recent (Sliwa 2015, 2017) defence of knowledge-based Reductionism (Reductionism for short). Sliwa claims that one understands why p if and only if one has a sufficient amount of knowledge why p. Sliwa also contends that Reductionism is supported by intuitive verdicts about our uses of ‘understanding why’ and ‘knowing why’. In reply, I first argue (...)
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  • Unifying the Debates: Mathematical and Non-Causal Explanations.Daniel Kostić - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):1-6.
    In the last couple of years a few seemingly independent debates on scientific explanation have emerged, with several key questions that take different forms in different areas. For example, the questions what makes an explanation distinctly mathematical and are there any non-causal explanations in sciences sometimes take a form of the question what makes mathematical models explanatory, especially whether highly idealized models in science can be explanatory and in virtue of what they are explanatory. These questions raise further issues about (...)
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  • MUDdy Understanding.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    This paper focuses on two questions: Is understanding intimately bound up with accurately representing the world? Is understanding intimately bound up with downstream abilities? We will argue that the answer to both these questions is “yes”, and for the same reason-both accuracy and ability are important elements of orthogonal evaluative criteria along which understanding can be assessed. More precisely, we will argue that representational-accuracy and intelligibility are good-making features of a state of understanding. Interestingly, both evaluative claims have been defended (...)
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  • Understanding Phenomena.Christoph Kelp - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3799-3816.
    The literature on the nature of understanding can be divided into two broad camps. Explanationists believe that it is knowledge of explanations that is key to understanding. In contrast, their manipulationist rivals maintain that understanding essentially involves an ability to manipulate certain representations. The aim of this paper is to provide a novel knowledge based account of understanding. More specifically, it proposes an account of maximal understanding of a given phenomenon in terms of fully comprehensive and maximally well-connected knowledge of (...)
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  • Cognitive Extension, Enhancement, and the Phenomenology of Thinking.Philip J. Walsh - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):33-51.
    This paper brings together several strands of thought from both the analytic and phenomenological traditions in order to critically examine accounts of cognitive enhancement that rely on the idea of cognitive extension. First, I explain the idea of cognitive extension, the metaphysics of mind on which it depends, and how it has figured in recent discussions of cognitive enhancement. Then, I develop ideas from Husserl that emphasize the agential character of thought and the distinctive way that conscious thoughts are related (...)
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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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  • Minimal Structure Explanations, Scientific Understanding and Explanatory Depth.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Perspectives on Science (1):48-67.
    In this paper, I outline a heuristic for thinking about the relation between explanation and understanding that can be used to capture various levels of “intimacy”, between them. I argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation is inversely proportional to the level of intimacy between explanation and understanding, i.e. the more complexity the less intimacy. I further argue that the level of complexity in the structure of explanation also affects the explanatory depth in a similar way (...)
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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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  • Grounding and Metaphysical Explanation: It’s Complicated.Anna-Sofia Maurin - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1573-1594.
    Grounding theorists insist that grounding and explanation are intimately related. This claim could be understood as saying either that grounding ‘inherits’ its properties from explanation or it could be interpreted as saying that grounding plays an important—possibly an indispensable—role in metaphysical explanation. Or both. I argue that saying that grounding ‘inherits’ its properties from explanation can only be justified if grounding is explanatory by nature, but that this view is untenable. We ought therefore to be ‘separatists’ and view grounding and (...)
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  • What is Understanding? An Overview of Recent Debates in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.Christoph Baumberger, Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemolgy and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 1-34.
    The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification and belief. We discuss prominent views about how to construe these (...)
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  • Towards a Knowledge-Based Account of Understanding.Christoph Kelp - 2016 - In S. Grimm, C. Baumberger & S. Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding. Routledge.
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  • 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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  • IV—Understanding and Knowing.Paulina Sliwa - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (1pt1):57-74.
    What is the relationship between understanding and knowing? This paper offers a defence of reductionism about understanding: the view that instances of understanding reduce to instances of knowing. I argue that knowing is both necessary and sufficient for understanding. I then outline some advantages of reductionism.
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  • Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - 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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  • A Noetic Theory of Understanding and Intuition as Sense-Maker.John Bengson - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):633-668.
    The notion of a non-sensory mental state or event that plays a prominent role in coming to understand, an epistemic achievement distinct from mere knowledge, featured prominently in historical writings on philosophy, and philosophical methodology. It is, however, completely absent from contemporary discussions of the subject. This paper argues that intuition plays an epistemic role in understanding, including philosophical understanding, and offers an explanation of how intuition manages to play this role, if and when it does. It is argued, subsequently, (...)
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  • How Could Models Possibly Provide How-Possibly Explanations?Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:1-12.
    One puzzle concerning highly idealized models is whether they explain. Some suggest they provide so-called ‘how-possibly explanations’. However, this raises an important question about the nature of how-possibly explanations, namely what distinguishes them from ‘normal’, or how-actually, explanations? I provide an account of how-possibly explanations that clarifies their nature in the context of solving the puzzle of model-based explanation. I argue that the modal notions of actuality and possibility provide the relevant dividing lines between how-possibly and how-actually explanations. Whereas how-possibly (...)
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  • Understanding Does Not Depend on (Causal) Explanation.Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (2):18.
    One can find in the literature two sets of views concerning the relationship between understanding and explanation: that one understands only if 1) one has knowledge of causes and 2) that knowledge is provided by an explanation. Taken together, these tenets characterize what I call the narrow knowledge account of understanding. While the first tenet has recently come under severe attack, the second has been more resistant to change. I argue that we have good reasons to reject it on the (...)
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  • Theoretical Understanding in Science.Mark P. Newman - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    In this article I develop a model of theoretical understanding in science. This is a philosophical theory that specifies the conditions that are both necessary and sufficient for a scientist to satisfy the construction ‘S understands theory T ’. I first consider how this construction is preferable to others, then build a model of the requisite conditions on the basis of examples from elementary physics. I then show how this model of theoretical understanding can be made philosophically robust and provide (...)
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  • Understanding: Not Know-How.Emily Sullivan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):221-240.
    There is considerable agreement among epistemologists that certain abilities are constitutive of understanding-why. These abilities include: constructing explanations, drawing conclusions, and answering questions. This agreement has led epistemologists to conclude that understanding is a kind of know-how. However, in this paper, I argue that the abilities constitutive of understanding are the same kind of cognitive abilities that we find in ordinary cases of knowledge-that and not the kind of practical abilities associated with know-how. I argue for this by disambiguating between (...)
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  • Understanding Beyond Grasping Propositions: A Discussion of Chess and Fish.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Jennifer K. Hellmann - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:46-51.
    In this paper, we argue that, contra Strevens (2013), understanding in the sciences is sometimes partially constituted by the possession of abilities; hence, it is not (in such cases) exhausted by the understander’s bearing a particular psychological or epistemic relationship to some set of structured propositions. Specifically, the case will be made that one does not really understand why a modeled phenomenon occurred unless one has the ability to actually work through (meaning run and grasp at each step) a model (...)
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  • Scientific Explanation and Understanding: Unificationism Reconsidered.Sorin Bangu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):103-126.
    The articulation of an overarching account of scientific explanation has long been a central preoccupation for the philosophers of science. Although a while ago the literature was dominated by two approaches—a causal account and a unificationist account—today the consensus seems to be that the causal account has won. In this paper, I challenge this consensus and attempt to revive unificationism. More specifically, I aim to accomplish three goals. First, I add new criticisms to the standard anti-unificationist arguments, in order to (...)
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  • Understanding and Explanation: Living Apart Together?Henk W. de Regt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):505-509.
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  • Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation.Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
    This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.
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