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Daniel Wilkenfeld
University of Pittsburgh
  1. Understanding as Representation Manipulability.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):997-1016.
    Claims pertaining to understanding are made in a variety of contexts and ways. As a result, few in the philosophical literature have made an attempt to precisely characterize the state that is y understanding x. This paper builds an account that does just that. The account is motivated by two main observations. First, understanding x is somehow related to being able to manipulate x. Second, understanding is a mental phenomenon, and so what manipulations are required to be an understander must (...)
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  2. MUDdy Understanding.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    This paper focuses on two questions: Is understanding intimately bound up with accurately representing the world? Is understanding intimately bound up with downstream abilities? We will argue that the answer to both these questions is “yes”, and for the same reason-both accuracy and ability are important elements of orthogonal evaluative criteria along which understanding can be assessed. More precisely, we will argue that representational-accuracy and intelligibility are good-making features of a state of understanding. Interestingly, both evaluative claims have been defended (...)
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  3. Depth and Deference: When and Why We Attribute Understanding.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld, Dillon Plunkett & Tania Lombrozo - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):373-393.
    Four experiments investigate the folk concept of “understanding,” in particular when and why it is deployed differently from the concept of knowledge. We argue for the positions that people have higher demands with respect to explanatory depth when it comes to attributing understanding, and that this is true, in part, because understanding attributions play a functional role in identifying experts who should be heeded with respect to the general field in question. These claims are supported by our findings that people (...)
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  4.  89
    Functional Explaining: A New Approach to the Philosophy of Explanation.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3367-3391.
    In this paper, I argue that explanations just ARE those sorts of things that, under the right circumstances and in the right sort of way, bring about understanding. This raises the question of why such a seemingly simple account of explanation, if correct, would not have been identified and agreed upon decades ago. The answer is that only recently has it been made possible to analyze explanation in terms of understanding without the risk of collapsing both to merely phenomenological states. (...)
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  5.  47
    Ethical Concerns with Applied Behavior Analysis for Autism Spectrum "Disorder".Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Allison M. McCarthy - 2020 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 30 (1):31-69.
    This paper has both theoretical and practical ambitions. The theoretical ambitions are to explore what would constitute both effective and ethical treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.1 However, the practical ambition is perhaps more important: we argue that a dominant form of Applied Behavior Analysis, which is widely taken to be far-and-away the best “treatment”2 for ASD, manifests systematic violations of the fundamental tenets of bioethics. Moreover, the supposed benefits of the treatment not only fail to mitigate these violations, but they (...)
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  6.  55
    Folk Attributions of Understanding: Is There a Role for Epistemic Luck?Daniel A. Wilkenfeld, Dillon Plunkett & Tania Lombrozo - 2018 - Episteme 15 (1):24-49.
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  7.  76
    Understanding Beyond Grasping Propositions: A Discussion of Chess and Fish.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Jennifer K. Hellmann - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:46-51.
    In this paper, we argue that, contra Strevens (2013), understanding in the sciences is sometimes partially constituted by the possession of abilities; hence, it is not (in such cases) exhausted by the understander’s bearing a particular psychological or epistemic relationship to some set of structured propositions. Specifically, the case will be made that one does not really understand why a modeled phenomenon occurred unless one has the ability to actually work through (meaning run and grasp at each step) a model (...)
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  8.  41
    Explanation Classification Depends on Understanding: Extending the Epistemic Side-Effect Effect.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Tania Lombrozo - 2020 - Synthese 197 (6):2565-2592.
    Our goal in this paper is to experimentally investigate whether folk conceptions of explanation are psychologistic. In particular, are people more likely to classify speech acts as explanations when they cause understanding in their recipient? The empirical evidence that we present suggests this is so. Using the side-effect effect as a marker of mental state ascriptions, we argue that lay judgments of explanatory status are mediated by judgments of a speaker’s and/or audience’s mental states. First, we show that attributions of (...)
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  9.  55
    Objectually Understanding Informed Consent.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (1):33-56.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 1, Page 33-56, March 2021.
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  10.  37
    Moral Understanding and Moral Illusions.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):25-33.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  11.  15
    In Defense of Vaccine Mandates: An Argument From Consent Rights.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Christa M. Johnson - 2022 - Public Health Ethics 15 (1):27-40.
    This article will focus on the ethical issues of vaccine mandates and stake claim to the relatively extreme position that outright requirements for people to receive the vaccine are ethically correct at both the governmental and institutional levels. One novel strategy employed here will be to argue that deontological considerations pertaining to consent rights cut as much in favor of mandating vaccines as against them. The presumption seems to be that arguments from consent speak semi-definitively against forcing people to inject (...)
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  12.  58
    Modeling Authenticity.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (1):245-268.
    In this paper, we explore the link between understanding and transformative decisions. Paul suggests that one important aspect of making some decisions is that we make them not just on the basis of what data from other people tell us, but based on our own acquaintance with how the decision affects us. In this paper, we draw out a parallel between the sort of reasoning that Paul argues is required for authentic decision making and the sort of epistemic grasp of (...)
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  13.  3
    When Law and Ethics Come Apart: Constraints Versus Guidance.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Christine Durmis - forthcoming - Nursing Ethics:096973302211056.
    The generally agreed upon principle that legality and ethics can come apart is frequently overlooked in our professional ethics education and decision-making procedures. The crux of the issue is that we teach in our philosophy classes that the law can sometimes be unethical, but then clearly state in nursing codes of ethics that students should always follow the law. The law could no doubt give us some reason to choose action A over action B, but in professional contexts we frequently (...)
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  14.  18
    Understanding for Hire.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld & Christa M. Johnson - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3):389-405.
    In this paper, we will explore one way in which understanding can—and, we will argue, should—be valuable. We will do this by drawing on what has been said about the different ways knowledge can be valuable. Our main contribution will be to identify one heretofore undiscussed way knowledge could be valuable, but isn’t—specifically, having value to someone other than the understander. We suggest that it is a desideratum on an account of understanding that understanding have the specified type of value; (...)
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  15.  33
    Transformative Understanding Acquisition.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (1):67-93.
    Some experiences change who we are in ways we cannot understand until we have that very experience. In this paper I argue that so-called “transformative experiences” can not only bring about new understanding, but can actually be brought out by the gain of understanding itself. Coming to understand something new can change you. I argue that not only is understanding acquisition potentially a kind of transformative experience; given some of the recent philosophy of the phenomenology of understanding, it is a (...)
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  16.  15
    Living with Autism: Quus-Ing in a Plus-Ers World.Daniel A. Wilkenfeld - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (1):53-68.
    In this paper, I explore the possibility that the point Kripke made about understanding meaning also applies to understanding social interaction. This understanding involves extending what one has learned from a finite number of past observations to provide normative guidance for an indefinitely complicated future. Kripke argues that what one should do in the future is inevitably underdetermined by the infinite possible interpretations of the past. Moreover, no matter how much one attempts to make the rules explicit, they will always (...)
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