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Logos & Episteme

Volume 3, Issue 3, 2012

Jasper Doomen
Pages 413-428

Understanding and Explaining

The quest to provide a fundamental understanding and explanation of reality is an ambitious one. Perhaps it is too ambitious. The possible restrictions for such an enterprise to be successful must be inquired in order to determine the issue. Section 1 explores one’s understanding in reaching (scientific) conclusions: to what extent does a successful account testify to understanding? Section 2 focuses on the other side of such an account: does it provide an explanation in a more fundamental sense than pointing out causes of phenomena, or is it restricted to such a task? A critical attitude vis-à-vis the (scientific) enterprise of unearthing reality’s structure remains necessary in order not to confuse a consistent and productive theory with one that demonstrates an understanding and explanation in the sense of this article.

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