Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Understanding: the ability to give reasons for a distinction or to justify a selection of options. For the understanding of signs and words plays a role, whether one can connect an object with the word or sign, as well as whether one can replace the sign or word with another sign or word. In order to understand full sentences, the context must be grasped as well. A point of contention is whether knowing the truth conditions gives the sentence its meaning. In other words Whether there is the knowledge about what should be if the sentence were true. If that is correct, there is no need to know whether the sentence is true (cf. M. Dummett, Ursprünge der analytischen Philosophie Frankfurt 1992, p. 20). See also substitution, truth conditions, knowledge.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John McDowell on Understanding - Dictionary of Arguments

I 98f
Understanding/McDowell: the distinction between two types of intelligibility distinguishes two kinds of terms, but not of objects.
I 123
Natural laws/Nature/Understanding/Hume: Nature cannot be understood in terms of meaning, nor in terms of a law.
Natural laws/Nature/Understanding/KantVsHume: regains the comprehensibility of the natural laws, but not the comprehensibility of the meaning.
>Nature/Kant, >Laws of nature/Kant, >Understanding/Kant.
Nature is the domain of natural laws, and therefore without any meaning.
The empirical world, however, is not outside the concepts.
I 136
Natural laws/meaning: mandatory rules do not have to be known.
Understanding/McDowell: must also play a role where it is a matter of grasping mere events without all meaning.
Understanding/comprehensibility/modernity/today/McDowell: the field of comprehensibility is the realm of natural laws - albeit without meaning.
We can, however, refuse to equate this area of comprehensibility with nature, and even more so with what is real.
I 140
Experience/Content/Understanding/McDowell: Empirical content is only understandable in a context that allows us to make the direct rational control of the mind through the world itself insightful.
It is impossible for a fact to exert an impression on a person that perceives.
However, the image of openness to the world brings the idea of direct access to the facts. Only that we cannot be certain in any case that it is not a deception.
II 55
Understanding/McDowell: understanding your own utterances: ability to know what a theoretical description of this ability would do - knowing truths conditions - not truth! - Even in sentences which are not decidable by means of evidence - but this does not mean that the truth condition for each sentence either exists or does not exist, even if we cannot say that it exists or does not exist.
>Truth condition.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

McDowell I
John McDowell
Mind and World, Cambridge/MA 1996
German Edition:
Geist und Welt Frankfurt 2001

McDowell II
John McDowell
"Truth Conditions, Bivalence and Verificationism"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell,

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-03-05
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