The goal of explanation

I defend the claim that understanding is the goal of explanation against various persistent criticisms, especially the criticism that understanding is not truth-connected in the appropriate way, and hence is a merely psychological state. Part of the reason why understanding has been dismissed as the goal of explanation, I suggest, is because the psychological dimension of the goal of explanation has itself been almost entirely neglected. In turn, the psychological dimension of understanding—the Aha! experience, the sense that a certain explanation “feels right”, and so on—has been conspicuously overemphasized. I try to correct for both of these exaggerations. Just as the goal of explanation includes a richer psychological—including phenomenological—dimension than is generally acknowledged, so too understanding has a stronger truth connection than is generally acknowledged.Keywords: Understanding; Explanation; Philosophy of science; Epistemology
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.10.006
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Mark Newman (2013). Refining the Inferential Model of Scientific Understanding. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):173-197.
Henk W. de Regt (2013). Understanding and Explanation: Living Apart Together? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):505-509.

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