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Understanding in Science and Philosophy

McSweeney, Michaela (2023) Understanding in Science and Philosophy. [Preprint]

MCS UiSaP 12.28.23.pdf

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I first quickly outline what I think grasping is, and suggest that it is both among our basic aims of inquiry and not essentially tied to belief, justification, or knowledge. Then, I briefly look at some places in the metaphysics of science in which it looks like our aim of grasping and our aim in knowing—or perhaps more specifically in knowing the explanations for things—might seem to conflict. I will use this conflict to support a broader view: sometimes, we might develop philosophical views or theories—and even endorse them—in order to better grasp them, regardless of whether we genuinely believe them, or are justified in so doing. At other times, we may be aiming at propositional knowledge. These aims can come apart, and perhaps even systematically come apart. A pluralism about the value of those aims doesn’t entail an “anything goes” attitude with respect to how we think about what philosophical views to put forward, defend, or endorse, however—far from it. Instead, it suggests that what counts as a virtue of a philosophical theory depends on our aims in espousing it. If philosophers have distinct aims at the meta-level, it will be hard for them to engage in joint theory evaluation at the first-order level. At least all three of theoretical virtues, evaluative judgments of philosophical views, and what attitudes we ought to have towards the views we ourselves espouse will vary according to our guiding metaphilosophical aims.

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Item Type: Preprint
McSweeney, Michaelamichaelamcs@gmail.com0000-0002-6869-5537
Keywords: metaphilosophy, understanding, metaphysics of science, grasping, knowledge, methodology, wave function realism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr Michaela McSweeney
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2024 11:06
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2024 11:06
Item ID: 23025
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2023

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