Understanding & Scientific Progress

October 20, 2020
University of Iceland



University of Cincinnati
University of York


University of Iceland
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
University of Tasmania

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This is the fourth event in a series of online workshops affiliated with the international research project "Understanding Progress, in Science and Beyond", which is hosted at the University of Iceland. 

The theme of this fourth workshop is understanding and its relation to scientific progress. The workshop will consist of two talks. The event is open to all who are interested in listening in and/or participating in the Q&A. The schedule is as follows: 

13:30 GMT - Zoom link opens.

14:00 GMT - Michael Stuart (Geneva): On Pragmatic Understanding: Its Nature and Relation to Explanatory and Objectual Understanding.

This talk has three goals. First, I’ll argue that the popular distinction between explanatory, objectual and pragmatic understanding should be understood as a distinction between states of understanding, rather than having to do with modes or objects of understanding. Second, I’ll try to address the question of fundamentality. What do we mean when we say that one of these kinds of understanding is more fundamental than the others? Third, because pragmatic understanding is the least discussed of the three main kinds of understanding, I’ll sketch a preliminary account of it, drawing what lessons I can from the existing literature.  

14:35 GMT - Angela Potochnik (Cincinnati): A Non-Factive Epistemic Standard for Understanding and its Implications for Scientific Progress.

Factivism or veritism about scientific understanding is the idea that truth is a requirement for legitimate understanding. One motivation for this idea is that there must be an objective standard for legitimate understanding in order for this to qualify as an epistemic success. I reject factivism about understanding: S can understand that A because B when B is not true. In this talk, I motivate an alternative standard for legitimate understanding that appeals to a broadened notion of epistemic acceptability rather than truth. I then argue that this revised standard for legitimate understanding better accommodates the nature of our present day scientific understanding as well as providing a natural interpretation of the idea that there is cumulative scientific progress. 

15:35 GMT - Event ends.


Zoom details

Time: October 20th, 2020, Reykjavík, 13:30 GMT

Join Zoom Meeting: https://eu01web.zoom.us/j/9709748349

Meeting ID: 970 974 8349

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University of Campinas
Umeå University
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