Understanding, explanation, and intelligibility. Review of H. de Regt: Understanding Scientific Understanding [book review]

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Insa Lawler, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Science aims at understanding phenomena. One natural candidate for illuminating scientific understanding is explanation. Certainly, an explanation could contribute to someone’s understanding. But it is controversial whether explanations must produce understanding, whether understanding always involves some explanation, and whether there can be understanding without explanation. In Understanding Scientific Understanding, Henk de Regt sheds light on the relation between explanation and understanding by offering a unique account of scientific understanding, with an eye on how understanding is achieved. This account—which draws on two decades of his research—is presented in a form that is pleasant to read, accessible to a variety of readers, embedded in the longstanding philosophical debate about scientific explanations, and buttressed with numerous examples and three in-depth case studies from the history of physics. Although de Regt every so often points to examples from other sciences, such as biology, his account is tailored to physics. At best, he convinces his readers that it generalizes to other natural sciences. But whether it can accommodate social sciences or economics is not evident, as de Regt himself admits (see 11 and 261).

Additional Information

Metascience 28(1), 57-60.
Language: English
Date: 2018
books review, scientific understanding, explanation

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