David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy Compass 2 (3):564–591 (2007)
Philosophers agree that scientific explanations aim to produce understanding, and that good ones succeed in this aim. But few seriously consider what understanding is, or what the cues are when we have it. If it is a psychological state or process, describing its specific nature is the job of psychological theorizing. This article examines the role of understanding in scientific explanation. It warns that the seductive, phenomenological sense of understanding is often, but mistakenly, viewed as a cue of genuine understanding. The article closes with a discussion of several new paths of research that tie the psychology of scientific explanation to cognate notions of learning, testimony, and understanding.
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