Scientific understanding as guidance of and for cognitive activity*

Ponente: Arturo Ramos (UNAM-IIF)

Fecha: 23 de marzo, 12 hrs
Lugar: Sala de Investigadores Fernando Salmerón, Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM.

Resumen: Scientific understanding has become a trending topic of interest in the last few years. This is demonstrated by the progressive increase in the number of publications and works of authors with the main research theme as scientific understanding. Unfortunately, a clear delimitation of the possible objects of scientific understanding is still absent. There are two fundamental perspectives to approach the issue: (1) the perspective from which scientific understanding is characterized as the result or product of certain cognitive processes; and (2) the perspective from which scientific understanding is conceived as an ambiguous epistemic practice. In the following article, I argue in favour of this second perspective from an analytical point of view. I propose that scientific understanding is a set of cognitive activities that have been proven successful in achieving one or many of the traditional epistemic goals of science—prediction, explanation and description of phenomena and entities of the world—with the special condition that these cognitive activities must be adaptable to representation in certain specific languages to serve as guides for other agents when performing them. In summary, to scientifically understand a phenomenon (p) implies that one must be able to intelligibly represent the successful cognitive activity (c) of achieving a specific epistemic goal (g) relative to the phenomenon (p) in question.


*Esta charla será presentada en el CLMPS Helsinki en agosto de 2015.

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