Book ID: CBB783279858

Understanding Scientific Understanding (2017)


Regt, Henk W. de (Author)

Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 320 pp.
Language: English

It is widely acknowledged that a central aim of science is to achieve understanding of the world around us, and that possessing such understanding is highly important in our present-day society. But what does it mean to achieve this understanding? What precisely is scientific understanding? These are philosophical questions that have not yet received satisfactory answers. While there has been an ongoing debate about the nature of scientific explanation since Carl Hempel advanced his covering-law model in 1948, the related notion of understanding has been largely neglected, because most philosophers regarded understanding as merely a subjective by-product of objective explanations. By contrast, this book puts scientific understanding center stage. It is primarily a philosophical study, but also contains detailed historical case studies of scientific practice. In contrast to most existing studies in this area, it takes into account scientists' views and analyzes their role in scientific debate and development. The aim of Understanding Scientific Understanding is to develop and defend a philosophical theory of scientific understanding that can describe and explain the historical variation of criteria for understanding actually employed by scientists. The theory does justice to the insights of such famous physicists as Werner Heisenberg and Richard Feynman, while bringing much-needed conceptual rigor to their intuitions. The scope of the proposed account of understanding is the natural sciences: while the detailed case studies derive from physics, examples from other sciences are presented to illustrate its wider validity.

Reviewed By

Review Insa Lawler (2019) Review of "Understanding Scientific Understanding". Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (pp. 57-60). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Brown, James Robert
Heisenberg, Werner
Adolfo Verson
Resag, Jörg
Forgione, Marco
Greco, Pietro
Physics in Perspective
Perspectives on Science
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Biology and Philosophy
Warner Books
Rutgers University Press
Éditions du Seuil
Philosophy of science
Quantum mechanics
Science and society
Feynman diagrams
Theoretical physics
Feynman, Richard Phillips
Heisenberg, Werner
Schrödinger, Erwin
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Einstein, Albert
Wheeler, John Archibald
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
Copenhagen (Denmark)
Munich (Germany)

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