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Afactivism about understanding cognition

Taylor, Samuel D. (2023) Afactivism about understanding cognition. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 13 (3). Article Number 43. ISSN 1879-4920. (doi:10.1007/s13194-023-00544-7) (KAR id:102716)


Here, I take alethic views of understanding to be all views that hold that whether an explanation is true or false matters for whether that explanation provides understanding. I then argue that there is (as yet) no naturalistic defence of alethic views of understanding in cognitive science, because there is no agreement about the correct descriptions of the content of cognitive scientific explanations. I use this claim to argue for the provisional acceptance of afactivism in cognitive science, which is the view that the truth or falsity of an explanation of cognition is irrelevant to whether that explanation provides understanding. I conclude by discussing the relation between understanding in cognitive science and understanding in other domains.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s13194-023-00544-7
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Uncontrolled keywords: Afactivism, Alethic, Cognitive science, Understanding, (Non-)Factivism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Philosophy
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2023 13:41 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 07:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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