What's the Point of Understanding?

In What’s the Point of Knowledge? (2019)
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Abstract

What is human understanding and why should we care about it? I propose a method of philosophical investigation called ‘function-first epistemology’ and use this method to investigate the nature and value of understanding-why. I argue that the concept of understanding-why serves the practical function of identifying good explainers, which is an important role in the general economy of our concepts. This hypothesis sheds light on a variety of issues in the epistemology of understanding including the role of explanation, the relationship between understanding-why and knowledge, and the value of understanding-why. I conclude that understanding-why is valuable and yet knowledge plays more important roles in our epistemic life.

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Michael Hannon
Nottingham University

Citations of this work

Recent Work in the Epistemology of Understanding.Michael Hannon - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):269-290.
Why Purists Should Be Infallibilists.Michael Hannon - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):689-704.
Empathetic Understanding and Deliberative Democracy.Michael Hannon - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):591-611.
Knowledge and the Many Norms on Action.James Fritz - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1191-1210.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.

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