David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252 (2012)
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|
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References found in this work BETA
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
Philip Kitcher (1993). The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions. Oxford University Press.
Jonathan L. Kvanvig (2003). The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding. Cambridge University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Yasha Rohwer & Collin Rice (2013). Hypothetical Pattern Idealization and Explanatory Models. Philosophy of Science 80 (3):334-355.
Andrea I. Woody (2015). Re-Orienting Discussions of Scientific Explanation: A Functional Perspective. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:79-87.
Nicola Mößner (2015). Visual Information and Scientific Understanding. Axiomathes 25 (2):167-179.
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