Understanding and Equivalent Reformulations

Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Reformulating a scientific theory often leads to a significantly different way of understanding the world. Nevertheless, accounts of both theoretical equivalence and scientific understanding have neglected this important aspect of scientific theorizing. This essay provides a positive account of how reformulating theories changes our understanding. My account simultaneously addresses a serious challenge facing existing accounts of scientific understanding. These accounts have failed to characterize understanding in a way that goes beyond the epistemology of scientific explanation. By focusing on cases where we have differences in understanding without differences in explanation, I show that understanding cannot be reduced to explanation.
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Archival date: 2020-12-05
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2020-12-05

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