Abstract
I examine situations in which we say that different subjects have ‘different’, ‘competing’, or ‘conflicting understandings’ of a phenomenon. In order to make sense of such situations, we should turn our attention to an often neglected ambiguity in the word ‘understanding’. Whereas the notion of understanding that is typically discussed in philosophy is, to use Elgin’s terms, tethered to the facts, there is another notion of understanding that is not tethered in the same way. This latter notion is relevant because, typically, talk of two subjects having ‘different’, ‘competing’, or ‘conflicting understandings’ of a phenomenon does not entail any commitment to the proposition that these subjects understand the phenomenon in the tethered sense of the word. This paper aims, first, to analyze the non-tethered notion of understanding, second, to clarify its relationship to the tethered notion, third, to explore what exactly goes on when ‘different’, ‘competing’, or ‘conflicting understandings’ clash and, fourth, to discuss the significance of such situations in our epistemic practices. In particular, I argue for a version of scientific pluralism according to which such situations are important because they help scientific communities achieve their fundamental epistemic goals—most importantly, the goal of understanding the world in the tethered sense.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10838-020-09547-x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,226
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism and Pluralism.Hasok Chang - 2012 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Explaining Understanding (or Understanding Explanation).Wesley Van Camp - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):95-114.
No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Shadows of Beings: Francisco Suárez’s Entia Rationis.Christopher Shields - 2012 - In Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), The Philosophy of Francisco Surez. Oxford University Press.
The Illusion of Depth of Understanding in Science.Petri Ylikoski - 2009 - In Henk De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 100--119.
Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286.
Scientific Understanding.Peter Kosso - 2006 - Foundations of Science 12 (2):173-188.
Idealization and Many Aims.Angela Potochnik - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):933-943.
Understanding and Equivalent Reformulations.Josh Hunt - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):810-823.
Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
Scientific Knowledge as Historical and Cultural Phenomenon.Vladislav A. Lektorsky - 2001 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:205-212.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-05-20

Total views
5 ( #1,199,807 of 2,499,744 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #418,066 of 2,499,744 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes