For the next Department of Philosophy Research Seminar (DPRS) we are very lucky to have Federica Malfatti (Innsbruck) on “What is this thing we call “grasping”?”. The abstract for the talk is:
“Prima facie, there is a difference between knowing that and even why something is the case and understanding the corresponding fact. Knowing that and why something is the case can be a very “local” matter in our system of thought. E.g., it is possible for an epistemic agent to acquire knowledge that and why p merely by trusting a reliable expert on the matter in an epistemically friendly environment, even when the agent knows or understands close to nothing about the expert’s domain of expertise. Understanding does not seem to work in this way. For understanding to succeed, more seems to be required on the part of the epistemic agent. But what exactly is this “more” involved in understanding?
Reductionists claim that the additional component of understanding can actually be unpacked by deploying “classical” epistemological notions such as belief, justification, or knowledge. An epistemic agent will understand, say, a subject matter, in that she will form a significant amount of justified true beliefs or in that she will accumulate knowledge about this subject matter. Antireductionists, on the other hand, claim that accumulating true beliefs or knowledge might not be enough for acquiring understanding. An epistemic agent, antireductionists contend, might even come to believe all or most of the (true) relevant information about a topic, without actually coming to understand it. This is allegedly because understanding is not only – and maybe not even primarily – a matter of assenting to true propositions; rather, it is a matter of “seeing” or “grasping” how things are related to one another. But what exactly is this grasping allegedly involved in understanding?
In this talk, I’ll briefly review the accounts of grasping available in the literature and highlight their strengths and weaknesses. I’ll then sketch and defend a simple model of understanding (phenomena) that is reductionist in spirit, and that has the resources to explain all the differences in the process of social acquisition of knowledge and understanding that antireductionist accounts of grasping are meant to explain. ”
This talk aligns well with the Department’s Normative Philosophy (which includes epistemology), and Mind, Psychology, and Mental Health research clusters! For more information about the department’s research clusters, please see here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/humanities/departments/philosophy/research/research-clusters.aspx
Please note that all talks will take place virtually, not on campus. All are welcome. The seminars will take place Wednesdays at 3pm.
To sign up for our mailing list, please email the seminar convenor, Craig French.
(We require your email to send you an invitation to the online seminar.)