Project

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Understanding What We Know

Applicant Belkoniene Miloud
Number 184282
Funding scheme Early Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Philosophy School of Humanities University of Glasgow
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.02.2019 - 30.09.2020
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Keywords (7)

understanding; evidence; knowledge; cognitive achievements; knowledge-first epistemology; explanationism; justification

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Le projet “Understanding What We Know” vise à proposer une conception de la relation entre justification, connaissance et compréhension - trois aspects fondamentaux de l’enquête rationnelle - à la lumière du débat récent concernant ces trois notions.
Lay summary

La connaissance est indéniablement quelque chose qui a de la valeur à nos yeux et que l’on cherche à acquérir. Nos pratiques scientifiques constituent un bon exemple des ressources que nous sommes prêts à investir dans notre quête de connaissance. Mais la connaissance n’est pas la seule chose que l’on vise lorsque l’on s’engage dans ce type de pratiques. Nous cherchons aussi à améliorer notre compréhension de la réalité à laquelle nous avons accès. De plus, lorsque l’on cherche à acquérir de nouvelles connaissances et améliorer notre compréhension de la réalité à laquelle nous avons accès, nous ne nous contentons pas de deviner les réponses aux questions que l’on soulève dans le cadre de notre enquête. Nous collectons des données qui justifient de donner certaines réponses aux questions que nous soulevons. Mais quelle est exactement la relation entre la justification que nous obtenons pour croire certaines choses, les connaissances que nous acquérons dans le cadre de notre enquête et la compréhension que nous avons de la réalité à laquelle nous avons accès. Le projet “Understanding What We Know” vise à clarifier les relations entre ces trois aspects fondamentaux de l’enquête rationnelle exemplifiée par nos pratiques scientifique.

De prime abord, la relation entre justification, connaissance et compréhension peut ne pas paraitre particulièrement mystérieuse. On pourrait considérer que comprendre pourquoi quelque chose est le cas revient à connaitre son explication et que pour connaitre quelque chose il est nécessaire d’être justifié à le croire. Cependant cette conception a été remise en question sur la base de différents arguments présentés dans la littérature récente et, à la lumière de ces arguments, il est nécessaire de repenser la relation entre ces notions.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.12.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Acting Upon Uncertain Beliefs
BelkonieneMiloud, Dziurosz-SerafinowicPatryk (2020), Acting Upon Uncertain Beliefs, in Acta Analytica, (35), 253-271.
Normalcy, Understanding and the Problem of Statistical Evidence
BelkonieneMiloud (2019), Normalcy, Understanding and the Problem of Statistical Evidence, in Theoria, 85, 202-218.
Why Explanatory Considerations Matter
BelkonieneMiloud (2019), Why Explanatory Considerations Matter, in Erkenntnis, 1-19.
Grasping in Understanding
BelkonieneMiloud, Grasping in Understanding, in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Experience & Reason (EXRE) Research Group Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Groupe de Recherche en Epistémologie (GRE) France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Cogito Research Group Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Experience & Reason Research Group Colloquium Talk given at a conference Understanding and Skepticism 01.04.2020 Fribourg, Switzerland Belkoniene Miloud;
Cogito research seminar Talk given at a conference Truth and Understanding 01.02.2020 Glasgow, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Belkoniene Miloud;
Valeurs épistémiques: Compréhension et éthique intellectuelle Talk given at a conference Saisir en Comprenant 01.12.2019 Paris, France Belkoniene Miloud;
Consciousness, Understanding, and Self-Knowledge Talk given at a conference Grasping in Relation to Understanding 01.07.2019 Téhéran, Iran Belkoniene Miloud;
14th Annual International Conference on Philosophy Talk given at a conference What Should We Believe about the Future 01.05.2019 Athènes, Greece Belkoniene Miloud;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
200737 Evidence: Knowledge and Understanding 01.05.2021 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Knowledge is undeniably something we value and that we aim at acquiring. Our scientific practices are a very good example of the resources we are prepared to invest in our quest for knowledge. But knowledge is not the only thing we aim at when engaging in such practices. We also aim at improving our understanding of the reality we have access to. For instance, when a scientist tries to answer specific questions about our biology, her aim is not simply to increase her stock of factual knowledge about living organisms. She aims at reaching some understanding of living organisms by providing correct answers to the questions she asks in the course of her inquiry. In addition, when engaging in practices of inquiry such as scientific practices, we do not merely try to guess the answers to the questions we ask in the course of our inquiry. We, instead, collect evidence and base our beliefs on the evidence we acquire. In other words, we form beliefs concerning a given domain of inquiry that we are justified in having in light of the evidence we acquire. But how exactly does the justification we have for holding some beliefs about a given domain of inquiry relate to the factual knowledge we acquire and to the understanding we gain? And how do these two aims - knowledge and understanding - relate to each other? The project “Understanding What We Know” aims at providing an answer to these questions by offering a philosophical account of the relation between the justification someone has for holding some beliefs, what one knows to be the case and what one understands. At first sight, the relation between the notions of justification, knowledge and understanding may not appear to be particularly problematic. One might think that to understand why something is the case is just to know why it is the case - that is, to know what explains it - and that in order to know the explanation of a particular phenomenon, one has to believe that explanation on the basis of good evidence. However, this view has been challenged on various grounds in the context of an ongoing debate concerning the nature of understanding. In light of this debate, it is necessary to rethink the way these notions relate to each other. This project will be supervised by Prof. José Zalabardo at University College London and by Dr. Christoph Kelp at the University of Glasgow. It will rely on the argumentative methodology used in traditional epistemology which sets clarity, coherence and logical consistency as standards of evaluation, in order to defend two central hypotheses concerning the nature of understanding, which can shed new and interesting light on the relation between justification, knowledge and understanding. The resulting account of the relation between these notions will provide a framework for the adoption of a reflective perspective on our scientific practices and on the contribution made by the evidence-based methodology we employ to the knowledge we acquire and to the understanding we aim at gaining when engaging in these practices.
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