more from Wesley Salmon

Single Idea 13047

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding]

Full Idea

Knowledge 'that' is descriptive, and knowledge 'why' is explanatory, and it is the latter that provides scientific understanding of our world.

Gist of Idea

It is knowing 'why' that gives scientific understanding, not knowing 'that'


Wesley Salmon (Four Decades of Scientific Explanation [1989], Intro)

Book Reference

Salmon,Wesley C.: 'Four Decades of Scientific Explanation', ed/tr. Humphreys,Paul [Pittsburgh 2006], p.3

A Reaction

I agree, but of course, knowing 'why' may require a lot of knowing 'that'. People with extensive knowledge 'that' things are so tend to understand why something happens more readily than the rest of us ignoramuses.