Understanding without Explanation: A Still Open Issue
This paper takes a stance in the debate concerning scientific understanding. It claims that the case for a specific type of understanding, understanding without explanation (UwE), is still open, despite the tendency in the current literature that might suggest otherwise. The paper begins by situating the distinction between an explanatory and non-explanatory understanding in the debate on understanding by introducing Lipton’s account of UwE. The paper then discusses the significance of Lipton’s proposals for the debate and argues that Kelp’s interpretation does not exhaust the challenge they pose to any theory of understanding. The paper then examines the best articulated critique of Lipton’s account provided by Khalifa and rejects it as inadequate. It ends by sketching out a list of positive reasons that support the continued examination of UwE.
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