Graduate studies at Western
Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (2):227 - 258 (2009)
|Abstract||In this essay, I attempt to assess Henk de Regt and Dennis Dieks recent pragmatic and contextual account of scientific understanding on the basis of an important historical case-study: understanding in Newton’s theory of universal gravitation and Huygens’ reception of universal gravitation. It will be shown that de Regt and Dieks’ Criterion for the Intelligibility of a Theory (CIT), which stipulates that the appropriate combination of scientists’ skills and intelligibility-enhancing theoretical virtues is a condition for scientific understanding, is too strong. On the basis of this case-study, it will be shown that scientists can understand each others’ positions qualitatively and quantitatively, despite their endorsement of different worldviews and despite their convictions as what counts as a proper explanation.|
|Keywords||KEPLERS LAWS PLANETARY MOTION Incommensurability Spherical vortex cosmology NEWTON PRINCIPIA Huygens Actio in distans Universal gravitation Scientific understanding H. de Regt D. Dieks Newton Theoretical virtues ISAAC EXPLANATION SENSE|
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