Idealizations and scientific understanding

Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252 (2012)
Abstract
In this paper, I propose that the debate in epistemology concerning the nature and value of understanding can shed light on the role of scientific idealizations in producing scientific understanding. In philosophy of science, the received view seems to be that understanding is a species of knowledge. On this view, understanding is factive just as knowledge is, i.e., if S knows that p, then p is true. Epistemologists, however, distinguish between different kinds of understanding. Among epistemologists, there are those who think that a certain kind of understanding—objectual understanding—is not factive, and those who think that objectual understanding is quasi-factive. Those who think that understanding is not factive argue that scientific idealizations constitute cognitive success, which we then consider as instances of understanding, and yet they are not true. This paper is an attempt to draw lessons from this debate as they pertain to the role of idealizations in producing scientific understanding. I argue that scientific understanding is quasi-factive.
Keywords scientific understanding  scientific idealization  ideal gas law  objectual understanding
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,808
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 31 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Catherine Elgin (2007). Understanding and the Facts. Philosophical Studies 132 (1):33 - 42.
Michael Strevens (2013). No Understanding Without Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Peter Kosso (2002). The Omniscienter: Beauty and Scientific Understanding. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (1):39 – 48.
Peter Kosso (2007). Scientific Understanding. Foundations of Science 12 (2):173-188.
Suhhyun Park (2008). Hermeneutical Circle in the Understanding of Art. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 21:45-52.
Antigone M. Nounou (2010). Scientific Understanding and Colorful Quarks. Archives International d'Histoire des Sciences 60 (164):155-171.
Fritz Rohrlich (1994). Scientific Explanation: From Covering Law to Covering Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:69 - 77.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-03-04

Total downloads

129 ( #7,623 of 1,099,786 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #21,120 of 1,099,786 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.