Synthese:1-23 (forthcoming)

Miguel Egler
Tilburg University
Contrastivism about interrogative understanding is the view that ‘S understands why p’ posits a three-place epistemic relation between a subject S, a fact p, and an alternative to p, q. This thesis stands in stark opposition to the natural idea that a subject S can be said to understand why p simpliciter. I argue that contrastivism offers the best explanation for the fact that evaluations of the form ‘S understands why p’ vary depending on the alternatives to p under consideration. I also show that contrastivism offers valuable resources with which to explain the gradability of interrogative understanding attributions, as well as the sensitivity of these attributions to the perceived degree of epistemic demandingness of different contexts.
Keywords Understanding  Understanding-why  Contrastivism  Gradability  Context-sensitivity
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03059-x
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References found in this work BETA

True Enough.Catherine Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):661-688.
Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):661-688.

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