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Explicating objectual understanding: taking degrees seriously

Baumberger, Christoph (2019) Explicating objectual understanding: taking degrees seriously. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 50 (3). 367 - 388. ISSN 0925-4560

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10838-019-09474-6


The paper argues that an account of understanding should take the form of a Carnapian explication and acknowledge that understanding comes in degrees. An explication of objectual understanding is defended, which helps to make sense of the cognitive achievements and goals of science. The explication combines a necessary condition with three evaluative dimensions: An epistemic agent understands a subject matter by means of a theory only if the agent commits herself sufficiently to the theory of the subject matter, and to the degree that the agent grasps the theory (i.e., is able to make use of it), the theory answers to the facts and the agent’s commitment to the theory is justified. The threshold for outright attributions of understanding is determined contextually. The explication has descriptive as well as normative facets and allows for the possibility of understanding by means of non-explanatory (e.g., purely classificatory) theories.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 11:22
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 06:27

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