British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286 (2018)
AbstractThis paper presents and argues for an account of objectual understanding that aims to do justice to the full range of cases of scientific understanding, including cases in which one does not have an explanation of the understood phenomenon. According to the proposed account, one understands a phenomenon just in case one grasps a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive model of the ways in which it or its features are situated within a network of dependence relations; one’s degree of understanding is proportional to the comprehensiveness and accuracy of such a model. I compare this account with accounts of scientific understanding that explicate understanding in terms of having an explanation of the understood phenomenon. I discuss three distinct types of cases in which scientific understanding does not amount to possessing an explanation of any kind, and argue that the proposed model-based account can accommodate these cases while still retaining a strong link between understanding and explanation.
Similar books and articles
EMU and Inference: What the Explanatory Model of Scientific Understanding Ignores.Mark Newman - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):55-74.
No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Explaining Understanding (or Understanding Explanation).Wesley Van Camp - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):95-114.
A Normative Account of the Need for Explanation.Zanja Yudell & Wai-Hung Wong - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2863-2885.
Inaugurating Understanding or Repackaging Explanation?Kareem Khalifa - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):15-37.
Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding.J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
The Role of Explanation in Understanding.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):161-187.
Minimal Structure Explanations, Scientific Understanding and Explanatory Depth.Daniel Kostić - 2018 - Perspectives on Science (1):48-67.
Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
External Representations and Scientific Understanding.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Petri Ylikoski - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3817-3837.
Causality, Explanatoriness, and Understanding as Modeling.Franz-Peter Griesmaier - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):41-59.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Understanding Scientific Progress: The Noetic Account.Finnur Dellsén - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11249-11278.
Integrating Philosophy of Understanding with the Cognitive Sciences.Kareem Khalifa, Farhan Islam, J. P. Gamboa, Daniel Wilkenfeld & Daniel Kostić - 2022 - Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 16.
Rational Understanding: Toward a Probabilistic Epistemology of Acceptability.Finnur Dellsén - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2475-2494.
Would Disagreement Undermine Progress?Finnur Dellsén, Insa Lawler & James Norton - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
Peeking Inside the Black Box: A New Kind of Scientific Visualization.Michael T. Stuart & Nancy J. Nersessian - 2018 - Minds and Machines 29 (1):87-107.
References found in this work
Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World.Michael Weisberg - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1984 - University of Chicago Press.
On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Idealization and the Aims of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2017 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.