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Zagzebski, Linda Trinkaus. Recovering Understanding
2001, In M. Steup (ed.), Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue. Oxford University Press.
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs
Abstract: Proposes an analysis of the concept of understanding. Finds three important, relevant strands of thought in the works of Plato and Aristotle, among which the most important one is that understanding involves representing the world nonpropositionally, e.g. through visualization or diagrams. Taking this to be the defining characteristic, proposes that understanding is a state of comprehending nonpropositional structures of reality, such as automobiles, pieces of music or art, the character of a person, or a causal nexus. Argues that virtue epistemology is better suited than traditional epistemology to help us develop a successful analysis of understanding thus conceived. For unlike the theories from which it departs, virtue epistemology takes the objects of valuable epistemic states to consist of both propositional and nonpropositional objects.


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