Varieties of Understanding: New Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology

ISBN : 9780190860974

Stephen R. Grimm
288 ページ
156 x 156 mm

What does it mean to understand something? What is the essence of understanding, when compared across multiple domains? Varieties of Understanding offers new and original work on the nature of understanding, raising questions about what understanding looks like from different perspectives and exploring how ordinary people use the notion of understanding. According to a long historical tradition, understanding comes in different varieties. In particular, it is said that understanding people has a different epistemic profile than understanding the natural world-that it calls on different cognitive resources and brings to bear distinctive normative considerations. Thus, in order to understand people we might need to appreciate, or in some way sympathetically reconstruct, the reasons that led a person to act in a certain way. By comparison, when it comes to understanding natural events, like earthquakes or eclipses, no appreciation of reasons or acts of sympathetic reconstruction is arguably needed-mainly because there are no reasons on the scene to even be appreciated, and no perspectives to be sympathetically pieced together. This volume brings together some of the world's leading philosophers, psychologists, and theologians in order to shed light on the various ways in which we understand the world, pushing debates on this issue to new levels of sophistication and insight.


1. Stephen R. Grimm, Introduction: Varieties of Understanding
I. Philosophy of Understanding
2. Elizabeth Camp, Perspectives and Frames in Pursuit of Ultimate Understanding
3. Richard Foley, The Epistemology of the Humanities and Sciences
4. Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei, On Literary Understanding
5. Anthony Gottlieb, Recasting the 'Scientism' Debate
6. Ernest Sosa, Firsthand Knowledge and Understanding
7. Linda Zagzebski, Towards a Theory of Understanding
II. Psychology of Understanding
8. Kimberly Brink and Henry Wellman, Technology as Teacher: How Children Learn from Social Robots
9. Hyowon Gweon, Understanding Others to Learn and Help Others Learn
10. Frank Keil, How Do Partial Understandings Work?
11. Tania Lombrozo and Daniel Wilkenfeld, Mechanistic Versus Functional Understanding
12. Steven Sloman, Jeffrey C. Zemla, David Lagnado, Christos Bechlivanidis, and Babak Hemmatian, Are Humans Intuitive Philosophers?
III. Theology of Understanding
13. Terrence Tilley, Religious Understanding and Cultured Practices


Stephen R. Grimm is Chair and Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, specializing in epistemology, the philosophy of science, and ethics. He is series editor for the Oxford University Press line Guides to the Good Life, and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. From 2013-2016 he led a large interdisciplinary project on the nature of understanding, supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, with additional support from the Henry Luce Foundation