Prof. Henk de Regt (Radboud University): Understanding Scientific Understanding
Henk de Regt is visiting the Science Studies Colloquium Series. De Regt is Professor of Philosophy of Natural Sciences at the Faculty of Science at Radboud University. He obtained his PhD in 1993 at the Faculty of Philosophy at the VU Amsterdam, with the doctoral thesis Philosophy and the Art of Scientific Discovery. After obtaining his PhD, De Regt worked as a lecturer of the philosophy of science at Wageningen University and Utrecht University College, and as a researcher at Utrecht University. In 2001 he returned to the VU, where he carried out his first research project on scientific understanding with an NWO-Vidi grant. Subsequent projects were funded by NWO and Fordham University (New York), and were carried out at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) and Cambridge University.
The seminar is open for everyone!
It is widely acknowledged that a central aim of science is to achieve understanding of the world around us, and that possessing such understanding is highly important in our present-day society. But what precisely is scientific understanding, and when is it achieved? In my book Understanding Scientific Understanding (OUP, 2017), I develop a philosophical theory of scientific understanding that answers these questions. In contrast to most existing studies in this area, my approach takes into account scientists’ views on understanding and their role in scientific debate and development. In my talk I will outline my theory of scientific understanding and illustrate it with examples from the history of physics.