What is it about?

It seems that you can't know something just by accident: if you're right, but you could have really easily been wrong, we say that you don't know it. Here I want to ask the same question, but in terms of understanding: can you understand something by accident? To answer this question we need to think about what it means to understand something, and then to think about what it would mean to understand something by accident. My main goal is to argue that just as we cannot know something by accident, neither can we understand something by accident.

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Why is it important?

While there has been a lot of work on what it means to know something, there is comparatively little work on what it means to understand something. This paper attempts to add to the work on understanding by applying questions about the nature of knowledge to theories of understanding.


I hope that this article can provide some insight into a burgeoning area of study within philosophy.

Kenneth Boyd
University of Southern Denmark

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This page is a summary of: ENVIRONMENTAL LUCK AND THE STRUCTURE OF UNDERSTANDING, Episteme, May 2018, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/epi.2018.18.
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