Journal Article

A Defense of Lucky Understanding

Kevin Morris

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 2, pages 357-371
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axr023
A Defense of Lucky Understanding

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy of Science
  • Science and Mathematics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

It is plausible to think that the epistemic benefit of having an explanation is understanding. My focus in this article is on the extent to which explanatory understanding, perhaps unlike knowledge, is compatible with certain forms of luck—the extent to which one can understand why something is the case when one is lucky to truly believe an explanatorily relevant proposition. I argue, contra Stephen Grimm ([2006]) and Duncan Pritchard ([2008], [2009]), that understanding quite generally is compatible with luckily believing a true, explanatorily relevant proposition. My strategy is to argue that various intuitions that seem to rule against lucky understanding can be explained away, and thus do not compel us to reject the thesis that, in general, understanding tolerates luck. In arriving at this conclusion, I address some salient issues regarding the testimony of others, and also draw out the consequences of my discussions for the status of understanding as a cognitive achievement.

1Introduction

2Lucky Understanding

3Two Alleged Cases of Luck Undermining Understanding

4Luck and the Transmission of Explanatory Understanding

5Conclusion

Journal Article.  6727 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.