Department of Philosophy



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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents

Michael Hannon (Queen's University)

“What's the Point of Understanding?”

THURSDAY, February 2nd, 2017

WATSON HALL, ROOM 517 @ 4:00 p.m.

What is human understanding and why should we care about it? I propose a method of philosophical investigation called ‘function-first epistemology’ and use this method to investigate the nature and value of understanding. I argue that the concept of understanding serves the practical function of identifying good explainers, which is an important role in the general economy of our concepts. This hypothesis sheds light on a variety of issues in the epistemology of understanding, including the role of explanation in understanding, the relationship between understanding and knowledge, and the value of understanding. I argue that understanding is valuable and yet knowledge plays a more important role in our epistemic life.


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