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

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

English | Sep 19, 2019 | ISBN: 0190860979 | 300 Pages | PDF | 14 MB

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.

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