International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):173-197 (2013)
AbstractIn this article, I use a mental models computational account of representation to illustrate some details of my previously presented inferential model of scientific understanding. The hope is to shed some light on possible mechanisms behind the notion of scientific understanding. I argue that if mental models are a plausible approach to modelling cognition, then understanding can best be seen as the coupling of specific rules. I present our beliefs as ?ordinary? conditional rules, and the coupling process as one where the consequent of one ordinary rule (OR) matches and activates the antecedent of the rule to which it is coupled in virtue of the activation of an intermediate ?inference? rule. I argue that on this approach knowledge of an explanation is the activation of ORs in a cognitive hierarchy, while understanding is achieved when those activated ORs are also coupled via correct inference rules. I do not directly address issues regarding the plausibility of mental models themselves. This article should therefore be seen as an exercise in refining the inferential model within an already presupposed computational setting, not one of arguing for the psychological adequacy of computational approaches
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Citations of this work
What is Understanding? An Overview of Recent Debates in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.Christoph Baumberger, Claus Beisbart & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemolgy and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 1-34.
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Theoretical Understanding in Science.Mark P. Newman - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
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References found in this work
A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science.Paul M. Churchland - 1989 - MIT Press.
The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding.Jonathan L. Kvanvig - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.