Understanding and Equivalent Reformulations

Philosophy of Science 88 (5):810-823 (2021)
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Abstract

Reformulating a scientific theory often leads to a significantly different way of understanding the world. Nevertheless, accounts of both theoretical equivalence and scientific understanding have neglected this important aspect of scientific theorizing. This essay provides a positive account of how reformulation changes our understanding. My account simultaneously addresses a serious challenge facing existing accounts of scientific understanding. These accounts have failed to characterize understanding in a way that goes beyond the epistemology of scientific explanation. By focusing on cases in which we have differences in understanding without differences in explanation, I show that understanding does not reduce to explanation.

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Josh Hunt
Syracuse University

Citations of this work

Epistemic Dependence and Understanding: Reformulating through Symmetry.Josh Hunt - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):941-974.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
No understanding without explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.

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