Understanding: One or Many?

July 18, 2023 - July 20, 2023
Institut für Philosophie II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Mercator Raum GAFO 04/187
Universitätstr. 150
Bochum 44799

This event is available both online and in-person


  • Thyssen Stiftung


Universität Konstanz
University of California, Irvine
Northwestern University
American University in Cairo
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Innsbruck
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Oxford University
Uppsala University
Radboud University


University of Innsbruck
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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While understanding has recently become the object of intense debate among philosophers, it remains an open question how to make sense of different forms of understanding. These include scientific understanding (e.g. understanding scientific theories, phenomena, models, etc.), moral understanding (e.g. understanding other people, understanding political subjects, etc.), aesthetic understanding (e.g. understanding an artwork, like a novel or painting, and how these enable us to understand the world), or religious understanding (e.g. understanding theology, understanding and our spiritual life).

The main goal of the conference is to gather some of the most prominent, established researchers in the field of understanding, as well as early career researchers, to debate about the nature of understanding and what connections there may be between scientific, moral, aesthetic, and religious understanding.


This is a hybrid event, participation online or in person is free, but please register first by sending an e-mail with your name, e-mail address, and preference (online or in-presence participation) to: 

[email protected]


[email protected]

Seats are limited for in-presence participation!

A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants on July 17. 

(All times are CET!)


8:45 - 9:00 opening
9:00 - 10:15 Catherine Z. Elgin (Harvard): “Epistemic Agency”
10:15 - 11:30 Christoph Jäger (Innsbruck/HU): “Understanding and Education”
11:30 - 12:00 Coffee break
12:00 - 13:15 Silvia Jonas (Bamberg): “A Mathematical Perspective on Religious Understanding”
13:15 - 15:00 Lunch break
15:00 - 16:15 Alexander Prescott-Couch (Oxford): “Two Kinds of Political Understanding”
16:15 - 16:45 coffee break
16:45 - 18:00 Sanford Goldberg (Northwestern) & Kareem Khalifa (UCLA): “A Social Epistemology of Scientific Understanding”

19:30 Conference dinner


8:45 - 9:00 opening
9:00 - 10:15 Annalisa Coliva (Irvine): “Morphology and Understanding: Prolegomena to a Pluralist Manifesto"
10:15 - 11:30 Alfredo Vernazzani (RUB): “Seeing-As, Memory, and Understanding”
11:30 - 12:00 coffee break
12:00 - 13:15 Albert Newen (RUB): “Multiple Types of Social Understanding and their Underlying Dimensions”
13:15 - 15:00 Lunch break
15:00 - 16:15 Elisabeth Schellekens (Uppsala): “Aesthetic Experience and Epistemic Gain: The Case for Intelligible Aesthetic Value”
16:15 - 16:45 Coffee break
16:45 - 18:00 Jochen Briesen (Konstanz/FU): “Aesthetic Understanding, Testimony and Response-Dependence"


8:45 - 9:00 opening
9:00 - 10:15 Mario Hubert (AUC) & Federica Isabella Malfatti (Innsbruck): “Understanding Quantum Mechanics”
10:15 - 10:30 coffee break
10:30 - 11:45 Henk de Regt (Radboud): "The Prospects of Artificial Scientific Understanding"
11:45 - 12:00 Conference ends

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July 17, 2023, 8:00pm CET

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5 people are attending:

Oxford University
Institute of Advanced Studies Koszeg
and 3 more.

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