Understanding Scientific Understanding
Henk W. de Regt, Henk W. de Regt

November 5, 2021, 4:30am - 6:30am

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CASIP Lecture: Understanding Scientific Understanding

Organizer: Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Sciences(CASIP)


Since the turn of the millennium a lively debate on scientific understanding has emerged in the philosophy of science. In my talk, I will sketch this development and review the most important current views on scientific understanding. Next, I will outline my own contextual theory of scientific understanding, and illustrate it with a case study from the history of physics. Finally, I will address an issue that is central in the current philosophical debate, namely the relation between understanding and knowledge, and the question of whether truth is a necessary condition for understanding.

Speaker: Henk W. de Regt (Radboud University)

Chair: Yanjing Wang (Peking University)


Wei Wang (Tsinghua University)

Liqian Zhou (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Lu Teng (NYU Shanghai)

Tung-Ying Wu (CASIP)

Time: Friday, 5th November 2021 4:30PM—6:30PM(UTC+8)

Online Platform: Zoom

Zoom Address:


Meeting ID: 489 550 5875

Language: English


Hendrik Willem De Regt is a Full Professor of Philosophy of Natural Sciences at the  Institute of Science in Society, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His areas of specialization are general philosophy of science, foundations of physics, and history of modern physics. His research centers around the theme of 'understanding': he has investigated the nature of scientific understanding, as it is produced by expert scientists, via philosophical analysis and historical case studies. This has led to the development of a contextual theory of scientific understanding that acknowledges the historical and disciplinary variation in criteria for understanding. His work on scientific understanding has culminated in the monograph 'Understanding Scientific Understanding' (Oxford University Press, 2017), which received the Lakatos Award in 2019. In his future research, he wants to extend the analysis of understanding to questions regarding the interaction between science and society, such as public understanding of science, the nature of expertise, and inter- and transdisciplinary communication and understanding.


Tung-Ying Wu: [email protected]

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University of Sydney (PhD)
Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASIP)

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