Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding Scientific Understanding$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Henk W. de Regt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190652913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190652913.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2020

A Contextual Theory of Scientific Understanding

A Contextual Theory of Scientific Understanding

(p.87) 4 A Contextual Theory of Scientific Understanding
Understanding Scientific Understanding

Henk W. de Regt

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a full-fledged pluralistic, contextual theory of scientific understanding that is built on the analysis of intelligibility offered in chapter 2. The basic idea of this contextual theory of understanding is captured by the Criterion for the Understanding of Phenomena, which is articulated in section 4.1. Subsequently, in sections 4.2 and 4.3, the theory is further developed in terms of criteria for intelligibility and an analysis of the role of conceptual tools, and is supported by examples from scientific practice. Section 4.4 elaborates on various aspects of the contextuality of scientific understanding: its historical dynamics, the role of intuitions, and the relation of the theory to existing pragmatic theories of explanation. The theory’s implications for the issues of reductionism and scientific realism are discussed in section 4.5, and the final section defends the contextual theory against the charge that it implies relativism.

Keywords:   contextual theory of understanding, criteria for intelligibility, conceptual tools, pragmatic, intuitions, reductionism, realism, relativism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .