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A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding

De Regt, Henk and Dieks, Dennis (2002) A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Achieving understanding of nature is a central aim of science. In this paper we offer an analysis of the nature of scientific understanding, which accords with actual scientific practice and accommodates the historical diversity of conceptions of understanding. Its core idea is a general criterion for the intelligibility of scientific theories, that is essentially contextual: which theories conform to this criterion depends on contextual factors, and can change in the course of time. As a preparation for our analysis we criticise standard views of scientific understanding, in particular causal-mechanical and unificationist conceptions.

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Item Type: Other
De Regt, Henk
Dieks, Dennis
Keywords: Understanding, explanation, physics, contextuality, pragmatism
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Dennis Dieks
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2002
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 553
Public Domain: No

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