Authors
Michael Strevens
New York University
Abstract
Scientific understanding, this paper argues, can be analyzed entirely in terms of a mental act of “grasping” and a notion of explanation. To understand why a phenomenon occurs is to grasp a correct explanation of the phenomenon. To understand a scientific theory is to be able to construct, or at least to grasp, a range of potential explanations in which that theory accounts for other phenomena. There is no route to scientific understanding, then, that does not go by way of scientific explanation.
Keywords Explanation  Understanding  Grasping
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2012.12.005
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,226
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Logic of Explanation.Carl Gustav Hempel & Paul Oppenheim - 1948 - Philosophy of Science 15 (2):135-175.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.David Bourget - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318.
Scientific Progress: Knowledge Versus Understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:72-83.
The Seductions of Clarity.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:227-255.

View all 120 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Role of Explanation in Understanding.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):161-187.
Scientific Explanation and the Sense of Understanding.J. D. Trout - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (2):212-233.
The Psychology of Scientific Explanation.J. D. Trout - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (3):564–591.
Understanding, Knowledge, and Scientific Antirealism.Kareem Khalifa - 2011 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 83 (1):93-112.
Discussion Note: Making Sense of Understanding.Henk W. de Regt - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (1):98-109.
What Good Is an Explanation?Peter Lipton - 2001 - In G. Hon & S. Rakover (eds.), Explanation. Springer Verlag. pp. 43-59.
The Epistemic Value of Understanding.Henk W. de Regt - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):585-597.
More on Understanding in the Social Sciences.Frank Cunningham - 1967 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 10 (1-4):321-326.
A New Dialectical Theory of Explanation.Douglas Walton - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):71 – 89.
Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-05-22

Total views
664 ( #11,523 of 2,499,703 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
29 ( #30,225 of 2,499,703 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes