The Epistemology of Understanding. A contextualist approach

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):75-98 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper aims to provide a unifying approach to the analysis of understanding coherencies and understanding subject matters by highlighting the contextualist nature of understanding. Inspired by the relevant alternatives contextualism about knowledge, I will argue that understanding 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 of how to analyse understanding. In developing a contextualist account of understanding, I will argue that an account of the features commonly taken to be central to understanding greatly benefits from a contextualist framework. Central to my analysis will be the claim that a person has to fulfill the function of a competent problem solver in order to qualify for the ascription of understanding. In addition to the theoretical elucidation of my contextualist approach to understanding, a demanding hypothetical scenario will be developed to function as a test case.

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Marcus Bachmann
Martin Luther Universit├Ąt Halle-Wittenberg

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