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Federica Isabella Malfatti [12]Federica I. Malfatti [1]
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Federica Isabella Malfatti
University of Innsbruck
  1. The social fabric of understanding: equilibrium, authority, and epistemic empathy.Christoph Jäger & Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1185-1205.
    We discuss the social-epistemic aspects of Catherine Elgin’s theory of reflective equilibrium and understanding and argue that it yields an argument for the view that a crucial social-epistemic function of epistemic authorities is to foster understanding in their communities. We explore the competences that enable epistemic authorities to fulfil this role and argue that among them is an epistemic virtue we call “epistemic empathy”.
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  2. Can Testimony Transmit Understanding?Federica I. Malfatti - 2020 - Theoria 86 (1):54-72.
    Can we transmit understanding via testimony in more or less the same way in which we transmit knowledge? The standard view in social epistemology has a straightforward answer: no, we cannot. Three arguments supporting the standard view have been formulated so far. The first appeals to the claim that gaining understanding requires a greater cognitive effort than acquiring testimonial knowledge does. The second appeals to a certain type of epistemic trust that is supposedly characteristic of knowledge transmission (and maybe of (...)
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  3. On Understanding and Testimony.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1345-1365.
    Testimony spreads information. It is also commonly agreed that it can transfer knowledge. Whether it can work as an epistemic source of understanding is a matter of dispute. However, testimony certainly plays a pivotal role in the proliferation of understanding in the epistemic community. But how exactly do we learn, and how do we make advancements in understanding on the basis of one another’s words? And what can we do to maximize the probability that the process of acquiring understanding from (...)
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  4. Can Testimony Generate Understanding?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2019 - Social Epistemology 33 (6):477-490.
    Can we gain understanding from testifiers who themselves fail to understand? At first glance, this looks counterintuitive. How could a hearer who has no understanding or very poor understanding of a certain subject matter non-accidentally extract items of information relevant to understanding from a speaker’s testimony if the speaker does not understand what she is talking about? This paper shows that, when there are theories or representational devices working as mediators, speakers can intentionally generate understanding in their hearers by engaging (...)
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  5. Towards Ideal Understanding.Mario Hubert & Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2023 - Ergo 10 (22):578-611.
    What does it take to understand a phenomenon ideally, or to the highest conceivable extent? In this paper, we answer this question by arguing for five necessary conditions for ideal understanding: (i) representational accuracy, (ii) intelligibility, (iii) truth, (iv) reasonable endorsement, and (v) fitting. Even if one disagrees that there is some form of ideal understanding, these five conditions can be regarded as sufficient conditions for a particularly deep level of understanding. We then argue that grasping, novel predictions, and transparency (...)
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  6. Do We Deserve Credit for Everything We Understand?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2021 - Episteme:1-20.
    It is widely acknowledged in the literature in social epistemology that knowledge has a social dimension: we are epistemically dependent upon one another for most of what we know. Our knowledge can be, and very often is, grounded on the epistemic achievement of somebody else. But what about epistemic aims other than knowledge? What about understanding? Prominent authors argue that understanding is not social in the same way in which knowledge is. Others can put us in the position to understand, (...)
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  7. Understanding phenomena: From social to collective?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2022 - Philosophical Issues (1):253-267.
    In making sense of the world, we typically cooperate, join forces, and draw on one another’s competence and expertise. A group or community in which there is a well-functioning division of cognitive-epistemic labor can achieve levels of understanding that a single agent who relies exclusively on her own capacities would probably never achieve. However, is understanding also collective? I.e., is understanding something that can be possessed by a group or community rather than by individuals? In this paper, I develop an (...)
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  8. Introduction to the topical collection “True enough? Themes from Elgin”.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1):1293-1305.
    This topical collection of Synthese is in honor of Catherine Z. Elgin. The idea for it arose in the context of an international book symposium dedicated to Elgin's latest book, organized by Katherine Dormandy, Christoph Jäger, and myself, which took place at the University of Innsbruck in March 2018. The topical collection comprises fourteen papers addressing a broad array of issues related to True Enough and to Elgin’s work more generally, plus a contribution by Elgin with detailed comments and replies. (...)
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  9. Der Wert des Wissens.Federica Isabella Malfatti & Christoph Jäger - 2019 - In Martin Grajner & Guido Melchior (eds.), Handbuch Erkenntnistheorie. Stuttgart: Metzler. pp. 102-109.
    Die traditionelle Erkenntnistheorie beschäftigte sich vor allem mit drei großen Fragen. (i) Was ist Wissen? (ii) Ist Wissen möglich und in welchen Bereichen und in welchem Umfang können wir es, wenn überhaupt, erwerben? (iii) Was sind die Quellen des Wissens, und spielen womöglich einige von ihnen (etwa Wahrnehmung oder Introspektion) eine besondere Rolle für die Fundierung epistemischer Systeme? Neben der Einbeziehung sozialer Wissensquellen in die Behandlung von Frage (iii) ist in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten auch ein weiteres Thema in den (...)
     
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  10. On the Epistemological Potential of Worrall's Structural Realism.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2018 - Philosophical Inquiries 2 (VI):9-24.
    Structural realism à-la-Worrall is the view that inasmuch as our scientific theories provide us with (partially) adequate descriptions of an objective and independent reality, they do so by shedding light on the way this reality is in itself structured, and not on the so-called nature of existing objects. This position seems to imply that there is something about reality that lies beyond our grasp. I will reconstruct and shed new light onto Worrall’s position and show that, contrary to how it (...)
     
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  11. Scientific Realism as the Most Reasonable choice?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2018 - Isonomia: Online Philosophical Journal of the University of Urbino 1:1-17.
    Scientific realism, roughly, is the view that successful scientific theories are (at least partially or approximately) true. Is this the most reasonable stance to assume towards science? The no-miracle argument says it is: the stunning empirical success of our scientific theories is in need of an explanation, and (partial or approximate) truth seems to be the best explanation that we have at hand. The aim of this paper is to briefly reconstruct the trajectory of the success–to–truth inference, to critically analyse (...)
     
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  12. Verstehen verstehen. Eine erkenntnistheoretische Untersuchung.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2023 - Berlin, Deutschland: Schwabe Verlag.
    Wir Menschen streben danach, die Wirklichkeit zu verstehen. Eine Welt, die wir gut verstehen, ist eine, die wir "im Griff" haben, mit der wir gut umgehen können. Aber was heißt es genau, ein Phänomen der Wirklichkeit zu verstehen? Wie sieht unser Weltbild aus, wenn wir ein Phänomen verstanden haben? Welche Bedingungen müssen erfüllt sein, damit Verstehen gelingt? Die Kernthese des Buches ist, dass wir Phänomene der Wirklichkeit durch noetische Integration verstehen. Wir verstehen Phänomene, indem wir den entsprechenden Informationseinheiten eine sinnvolle (...)
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    How Science Tracks Understanding. [REVIEW]Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2024 - Philosophical Problems in Science (Zagadnienia Filozoficzne W Nauce) 74:317-320.
    This review article discusses the book Understanding How Science Explains the World by Kevin McCain, published by Cambridge University Press (2022). With an impressive combination of clarity and depth, McCain provides the reader with a firm grasp of how science works, of what science aims to achieve, and of what makes science a successful epistemic enterprise. The review article reconstructs the book’s overall dialectic and identifies one potential point of tension which concerns the role of truth or accuracy in scientific (...)
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