Understanding, Truth, and Epistemic Goals

Philosophy of Science 87 (5):944-956 (2020)
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Abstract

Several argue that truth cannot be science’s sole epistemic goal, for it would fail to do justice to several scientific practices that advance understanding. I challenge these arguments, but only after making a small concession: science’s sole epistemic goal is not truth as such; rather, its goal is finding true answers to relevant questions. Using examples from the natural and social sciences, I then show that scientific understanding’s epistemically valuable features are either true answers to relevant questions or a means thereof.

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Author's Profile

Kareem Khalifa
University of California, Los Angeles

Citations of this work

Scientific Realism and Blocking Strategies.Raimund Pils - forthcoming - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science:1-17.
A Satisficing Theory of Epistemic Justification.Raimund Pils - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
Non-epistemic values and scientific assessment: an adequacy-for-purpose view.Greg Lusk & Kevin C. Elliott - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-22.

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References found in this work

The Empirical Stance.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2004 - New York: Yale University Press.
No understanding without explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Idealizations and Understanding: Much Ado About Nothing?Emily Sullivan & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):673-689.

View all 9 references / Add more references