The epistemology of understanding

Inquiry 38 (3):205 – 215 (1995)
My principal aims are to question the conventional wisdom on two points. First, it argues that cognitive understanding is neither identical with nor reducible to knowledge?why, and that it is a multiform capacity which adds value to knowledge, true belief, and human creative activity. Essential to understanding is epistemic ascent, the rising above bare knowledge, to assess, appraise, compare, contrast, emphasize, connect and so on. Different modes of understanding are distinguished and an accompanying vocabulary of mode?indicators (expressing Fregean ?colour'). Second, I argue for the unity and continuity of understanding and reject any Diltheyesque idea of a great divide between so?called ?explanation? and ?understanding?, a divide which has sometimes been used to make a sharp demarcation between the natural sciences and the humane studies and sciences. A connection between humane and natural?scientific understanding is established through the Linkage Principle. The idea that there is in every case a uniquely right understanding is rejected and the role of multiple descriptions in both the natural sciences and humane understanding is emphasized.
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DOI 10.1080/00201749508602386
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Joshue Orozco (2011). Epistemic Luck. Philosophy Compass 6 (1):11-21.

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