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Understanding and the Facts

Catherine Elgin
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 132, No. 1, Selected Papers from the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, 2006 Meeting (Jan., 2007), pp. 33-42
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25471843
Page Count: 10
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Understanding and the Facts
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Abstract

If understanding is factive, the propositions that express an understanding are true. I argue that a factive conception of understanding is unduly restrictive. It neither reflects our practices in ascribing understanding nor does justice to contemporary science. For science uses idealizations and models that do not mirror the facts. Strictly speaking, they are false. By appeal to exemplification, I devise a more generous, flexible conception of understanding that accommodates science, reflects our practices, and shows a sufficient but not slavish sensitivity to the facts.

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