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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 (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    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
    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 11:10
    Item ID: 553
    Public Domain: No
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/553

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