AbstractIn recent years, scientific understanding has become a focus of attention in philosophy of science. Since understanding is typically associated with the pragmatic and psychological dimensions of explanation, shifting the focus from explanation to understanding may induce a shift from accounts that embody normative ideals to accounts that provide accurate descriptions of scientific practice. Not surprisingly, many ‘friends of understanding’ sympathize with a naturalistic approach to the philosophy of science. However, this raises the question of whether the proposed theories of understanding can still have normative power. In this paper I address this question by examining two theories of scientific understanding: Jan Faye’s pragmatic-rhetorical theory and my own contextual theory of scientific understanding. I argue that both theories leave room for normativity, despite their naturalistic tendencies. The normative power of my contextual theory is illustrated with a case study of the chemical revolution.
Similar books and articles
Inaugurating Understanding or Repackaging Explanation?Kareem Khalifa - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):15-37.
Henk de Regt, Sabina Leonelli, and Kai Eigner, Eds. Scientific Understanding. [REVIEW]Lydia Patton - 2010 - Isis 101 (4):932-933..
A Precipice Below Which Lies Absurdity? Theories Without a Spacetime and Scientific Understanding.Sebastian De Haro & Henk W. de Regt - 2018 - Synthese:1-29.
No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286.
Functional Explaining: A New Approach to the Philosophy of Explanation.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3367-3391.
Explaining Understanding (or Understanding Explanation).Wesley Van Camp - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):95-114.
A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding.Henk W. de Regt & Dennis Dieks - 2005 - Synthese 144 (1):137-170.
Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding.J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
EMU and Inference: What the Explanatory Model of Scientific Understanding Ignores.Mark Newman - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):55-74.
SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING-VIEWS FROM PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE. David-Rus - 2012 - Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 56 (2).
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Understanding physics: ‘What?’, ‘Why?’, and ‘How?’.Mario Hubert - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-36.
References found in this work
Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1965 - New York: The Free Press.