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Virtues and Their Vices$
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Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.001.0001

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Episteme: Knowledge and Understanding

Episteme: Knowledge and Understanding

Chapter:
(p.284) (p.285) 13 Episteme: Knowledge and Understanding
Source:
Virtues and Their Vices
Author(s):

John Greco

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.003.0014

This chapter articulates and defends a neo-Aristotelian account of understanding, modeled on Aristotle’s account of episteme as knowledge of causes. The account replaces Aristotle’s notion of ‘cause’ with a notion of dependence relations more generally. Dependence relations are various, including relations akin to Aristotle’s ‘four causes,’ but others as well, such as logical relations, mathematical relations, and various kinds of supervenience relation. The new account amounts to this: to have understanding is to have systematic knowledge of dependence relations. To understand a thing is to be able to (knowledgeably) locate it in a system of appropriate dependence relations. The neo-Aristotelian account preserves intuitive relations among understanding, explanation, and knowledge of causes. It also allows a unified account of various kinds of understanding, and nicely locates scientific understanding within a broader account of understanding in general.

Keywords:   knowledge, episteme, explanation, understanding

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