Hempel seems to hold the following three views: (H1) Understanding is pragmatic/relativistic: Whether one understands why X happened in terms of Explanation E depends on one's beliefs and cognitive abilities; (H2) Whether a scientific explanation is good, just like whether a mathematical proof is good, is a nonpragmatic and objective issue independent of the beliefs or cognitive abilities of individuals; (H3) The goal of scientific explanation is understanding: A good scientific explanation is the one that provides understanding. Apparently, H1, H2, (...) and H3 cannot be all true. Some philosophers think that Hempel is inconsistent, while some others claim that Hempel does not actually hold H3. I argue that Hempel does hold H3 and that he can consistently hold all of H1, H2, and H3 if he endorses what I call the “understanding argument.” I also show how attributing the understanding argument to Hempel can make more sense of his D-N model and his philosophical analysis of the pragmatic aspects of scientific explanation. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: According to a traditional account, understanding why X occurred is equivalent to knowing that X was caused by Y. This paper defends the account against a major objection, viz., knowing-that is not sufficient for understanding-why, for understanding-why requires a kind of grasp while knowledge-that does not. I discuss two accounts of grasp in recent literature and argue that if either is true, then knowing that X was caused by Y entails at least a rudimentary understanding of why X occurred. (...) If my defense is successful, it would cast doubt on an influential account of the epistemic value of understanding. (shrink)
Veritism claims that only true beliefs are of basic epistemic value. Michael DePaul argues that veritism is false because it entails the implausible view that all true beliefs are of equal epistemic value. In this paper, I discuss two recent replies to DePaul's argument: one offered by Nick Treanor and the other by Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij and Stephen Grimm. I argue that neither of the two replies is successful. I propose a new response to DePaul's argument and defend my response against (...) a possible objection. (shrink)
There seem to be cases where A believes p, and B believes not-p, but neither makes a mistake. This is known as faultless disagreement. According to the epistemic account, in at least some cases of faultless disagreement either A or B must believe something false, and the disagreement is faultless in the sense that each follows the epistemic norm. Recently, philosophers have raised various objections to this account. In this paper, I propose a new version of the epistemic account and (...) show how it can handle those objections. (shrink)
Veritists hold that the goal of inquiry is true belief, while justificationists contend that the goal of inquiry is justified belief. Recently, Christoph Kelp makes two new objections to both veritism and justificationism. Further, he claims that the two objections suggest that the goal of inquiry is knowledge. This paper defends a sophisticated version of veritism against Kelp's two objections.
In this paper, I survey some recent literature produced by the established Chinese philosophers who regularly publish in Chinese philosophy journals and work in Mainland China. Specifically, I review the recent research of these philosophers in two areas: Chinese Philosophy and epistemology. In each area, I focus on two topics that have caught the attention of a lot of Chinese philosophers. I argue that the Chinese philosophers’ research on these topics has two prevalent problems: (i) a lot of arguments they (...) make are weak; (ii) they tend not to critically engage with others. I discuss a metaphilosophical objection that weak argumentation and disengagement are not vices of philosophical research. I also try to make sense of (i) and (ii) in terms of some cultural factors. (shrink)
Some philosophers (e.g., Pritchard, Grimm, and Hills) recently have objected that veritism cannot explain the epistemic value of understanding-why. And they have proposed two anti-veritist accounts. In this paper, I first introduce their objection and argue that it fails. Next, I consider a strengthened version of their objection and argue that it also fails. After that, I suggest a new veritist account: Understanding-why entails believing the truth that what is grasped is accurate (or accurate enough), and it is this true (...) belief, along with many other true beliefs understanding-why entails, that makes understanding-why finally epistemically valuable. Then, I explain why the two anti-veritist accounts are both false. Finally, I briefly discuss the idea that understanding involves a kind of know-how and show how veritism can explain the epistemic value of know-how in general. (shrink)
This book attempts to revolutionise epistemology. A traditional goal of epistemology is to provide an analysis of knowledge in terms of more basic things. But the post-Gettier literature has made some philosophers like Timothy Williamson suspect that knowledge cannot be analysed. Kelp claims that both the traditional project and Williamson's knowledge-first project are misguided. He provides an alternative: Knowledge is an item in an inquiry-related network and can thereby be analysed in terms of its relations to other items in the (...) network, rather than of things that are more basic than knowledge.Kelp begins his book by distinguishing two types of inquiry: inquiry into specific questions (such as whether Plato's Republic advocates totalitarianism and when World War I took place) and inquiry into general phenomena (such as the rise of the Roman Empire and the origins of species). Chapter 1 argues that the goal of inquiry into specific questions—Kelp's discussion focuses on whether questions—is knowledge. This is because even if the inquirer into whether p acquires a Gettierised justified true belief that p, she has not achieved the goal of inquiry, for the question of whether p has not been properly closed for her: she can be sensibly asked to do more research. (shrink)
In this paper, I distinguish between two senses of “understanding”: understanding as an epistemic good and understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind. I argue that understanding as a character trait or a distinctive power of the mind is an intellectual virtue while understanding as an epistemic good is not. Finally, I show how the distinction can help us better appreciate Aristotle’s account of intellectual virtue.
Why Be Moral? Learning from the Neo-Confucian Cheng Brothers, by Yong Huang, is a book written for Western philosophers. Professor Huang claims that there are two ways of introducing a Chinese philosopher to Western audiences: first, by showing them that the Chinese philosopher’s ideas are ridiculous or inferior compared to the corresponding Western ideas, and second, by showing them that the Chinese philosopher has better answers to some Western philosophical questions than great Western philosophers. Huang thinks the first way is (...) pointless and adopts the second way in this book, which “attempts to show that the Cheng brothers’ neo-Confucian position is superior to the representative views [such as Aristotle’s... (shrink)
There are three widely held beliefs among epistemologists: (1) the goal of inquiry is truth or something that entails truth; (2) epistemology aims for a reflectively stable theory via reflective equilibrium; (3) epistemology is a kind of inquiry. I argue that accepting (1) and (2) entails denying (3). This is a problem especially for the philosophers (e.g. Duncan Pritchard and Alvin Goldman) who accept both (1) and (2), for in order to be consistent, they must reject (3). The tension is (...) not restricted to epistemology. A similar tension also exists in the area of moral philosophy. The tension can be generalized. If one believes that the goal of inquiry is truth or something that entails truth and that philosophy aims for a reflectively stable theory via reflective equilibrium, she must deny that philosophy is a kind of inquiry. (shrink)
William James makes several major claims about truth: (i) truth means agreement with reality independently of the knower, (ii) truth is made by human beings, (iii) truth can be verified, and (iv) truth is necessarily good. These claims give rise to a few puzzles: (i) and (ii) seem to contradict each other, and each of (ii), (iii), and (iv) has counter-intuitive implications. I argue that Richard Gale's interpretation of James' theory of truth is inadequate in dealing with these puzzles. I (...) propose an alternative interpretation and show how it can solve these puzzles. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen defines a successful argument in philosophy as one that can be used to convert an audience of ideal agnostics in an ideal debate. Sarah McGrath and Thomas Kelly recently argue that van Inwagen’s definition cannot be correct since the idea of ideal agnostics is incoherent with regard to an absolute paradigm of a successful philosophical argument. This paper defends van Inwagen’s definition against McGrath and Kelly’s objection.