Understanding and the facts

Philosophical Studies 132 (1):33 - 42 (2007)
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Abstract

If understanding is factive, the propositions that express an understanding are true. I argue that a factive conception of understanding is unduly restrictive. It neither reflects our practices in ascribing understanding nor does justice to contemporary science. For science uses idealizations and models that do not mirror the facts. Strictly speaking, they are false. By appeal to exemplification, I devise a more generous, flexible conception of understanding that accommodates science, reflects our practices, and shows a sufficient but not slavish sensitivity to the facts.

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Catherine Elgin
Harvard University

Citations of this work

No understanding without explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Recent Work in the Epistemology of Understanding.Michael Hannon - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):269-290.
Scientific progress: Knowledge versus understanding.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56 (C):72-83.

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References found in this work

True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1970 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (1):62-63.
Considered Judgment.Catherine Z. Elgin - 1999 - Princeton University Press.
True enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):113–131.

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