•  426
    The paper provides a systematic overview of recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of science on the nature of understanding. We explain why philosophers have turned their attention to understanding and discuss conditions for “explanatory” understanding of why something is the case and for “objectual” understanding of a whole subject matter. The most debated conditions for these types of understanding roughly resemble the three traditional conditions for knowledge: truth, justification an…Read more
  •  363
    Explication as a Method of Conceptual Re-engineering
    Erkenntnis 81 (6): 1211-1241. 2016.
    Taking Carnap’s classic exposition as a starting point, this paper develops a pragmatic account of the method of explication, defends it against a range of challenges and proposes a detailed recipe for the practice of explicating. It is then argued that confusions are involved in characterizing explications as definitions, and in advocating precising definitions as an alternative to explications. Explication is better characterized as conceptual re-engineering for theoretical purposes, in contra…Read more
  •  200
    Reflective Equilibrium Without Intuitions?
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2): 237-252. 2014.
    In moral epistemology, the method of reflective equilibrium is often characterized in terms of intuitions or understood as a method for justifying intuitions. An analysis of reflective equilibrium and current theories of moral intuitions reveals that this picture is problematic. Reflective equilibrium cannot be adequately characterized in terms of intuitions. Although the method presupposes that we have initially credible commitments, it does not presuppose that they are intuitions. Nonetheless,…Read more
  •  189
    Carnap and Goodman developed methods of conceptual re-engineering known respectively as explication and reflective equilibrium. These methods aim at advancing theories by developing concepts that are simultaneously guided by pre-existing concepts and intended to replace these concepts. This paper shows that Carnap’s and Goodman’s methods are historically closely related, analyses their structural interconnections, and argues that there is great systematic potential in interpreting them as aspect…Read more
  •  180
    Interpreting enthymematic arguments using belief revision
    with Hans Rott
    Synthese 190 (18): 4041-4063. 2013.
    This paper is about the situation in which an author (writer or speaker) presents a deductively invalid argument, but the addressee aims at a charitable interpretation and has reason to assume that the author intends to present a valid argument. How can he go about interpreting the author’s reasoning as enthymematically valid? We suggest replacing the usual find-the-missing-premise approaches by an approach based on systematic efforts to ascribe a belief state to the author against the backgroun…Read more
  •  177
    A new role for emotions in epistemology?
    In Georg Brun, Ulvi Dogluoglu & Dominique Kuenzle (eds.), Epistemology and Emotions, Ashgate Publishing Company. pp. 1--31. 2008.
    This chapter provides an overview of the issues involved in recent debates about the epistemological relevance of emotions. We first survey some key issues in epistemology and the theory of emotions that inform various assessments of emotions’ potential significance in epistemology. We then distinguish five epistemic functions that have been claimed for emotions: motivational force, salience and relevance, access to facts and beliefs, non-propositional contributions to knowledge and understandin…Read more
  •  164
    Das Buch vermittelt methodische Grundlagen für die Arbeit mit Texten in den Wissenschaften, besonders die Fähigkeit, Inhalt und Argumentation komplexer Texte zu erfassen, wiederzugeben und zu beurteilen. Die Einführung entspricht den fachlichen Standards der Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften, ist fachübergreifend konzipiert und setzt kein spezifisches Wissen voraus. Der Band richtet sich an Studierende verschiedener Fachrichtungen sowie an Personen, die sich mit dem Wissen anderer Fachrichtu…Read more
  •  151
    Identities of Artefacts
    Theoria 78 (1): 47-74. 2012.
    In non-philosophical discourse, “identity” is often used when the specific character of artefacts is described or evaluated. We argue that this usage of “identity” can be explicated as referring to the symbol properties of artefacts as they are conceptualized in the symbol theory of Goodman and Elgin. This explication is backed by an analysis of various uses of “identity”. The explicandum clearly differs from the concepts of numerical identity, qualitative identity and essence, but it has a rang…Read more
  •  119
    Formalization and the objects of logic
    Erkenntnis 69 (1). 2008.
    There is a long-standing debate whether propositions, sentences, statements or utterances provide an answer to the question of what objects logical formulas stand for. Based on the traditional understanding of logic as a science of valid arguments, this question is firstly framed more exactly, making explicit that it calls not only for identifying some class of objects, but also for explaining their relationship to ordinary language utterances. It is then argued that there are strong arguments a…Read more
  •  100
    Reconstructing Arguments: Formalization and Reflective Equilibrium
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 17 94-129. 2014.
    Traditional logical reconstruction of arguments aims at assessing the validity of ordinary language arguments. It involves several tasks: extracting argumentations from texts, breaking up complex argumentations into individual arguments, framing arguments in standard form, as well as formalizing arguments and showing their validity with the help of a logical formalism. These tasks are guided by a multitude of partly antagonistic goals, they interact in various feedback loops, and they are intert…Read more
  •  95
    Dimensions of Objectual Understanding
    with Christoph Baumberger
    In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, Routledge. pp. 165-189. 2017.
    In science and philosophy, a relatively demanding notion of understanding is of central interest: an epistemic subject understands a subject matter by means of a theory. This notion can be explicated in a way which resembles JTB analyses of knowledge. The explication requires that the theory answers to the facts, that the subject grasps the theory, that she is committed to the theory and that the theory is justified for her. In this paper, we focus on the justification condition and argue that i…Read more
  •  80
    Thought experiments in ethics
    In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments, Routledge. 2017.
    This chapter suggests a scheme of reconstruction, which explains how scenarios, questions and arguments figure in thought experiments. It then develops a typology of ethical thought experiments according to their function, which can be epistemic, illustrative, rhetorical, heuristic or theory-internal. Epistemic functions of supporting or refuting ethical claims rely on metaethical assumptions, for example, an epistemological background of reflective equilibrium. In this context, thought experime…Read more
  •  68
    Adequate formalization and de morgan’s argument
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 85 (1): 325-335. 2012.
    Lampert and Baumgartner (2010) critically discuss accounts of adequate formalization focusing on my analysis in (Brun 2004). There, I investigated three types of criteria of adequacy (matching truth conditions or inferential role, corresponding syntactical surface and systematicity) and argued that they ultimately call for a procedure of formalization. Although Lampert and Baumgartner have a point about matching truth conditions, their arguments target a truncated version of my account. They ign…Read more
  •  57
    Two challenges to the method of reflective equilibrium have been developed in a dispute between Michael D. Resnik and Stewart Shapiro: because the method itself involves logical notions, it can neither be specified in a logic-neutral way nor can it allow logical pluralism. To analyse and answer these claims, an explicit distinction is introduced between judgements held prior to the process of mutual adjustments and judgements in agreement with the systematic principles, which result from the pro…Read more
  •  56
    Five Ways of (not) Defining Exempliflcation
    with Inga Vermeulen and Christoph Baumberger
    In G. Ernst, J. Steinbrenner & O. Scholz (eds.), From Logic to Art: Themes From Nelson Goodman, Ontos. pp. 7--219. 2009.
    The notion of exemplification is essential for Goodman’s theory of symbols. But Goodman’s account of exemplification has been criticized as unclear and inadequate. He points out two conditions for an object x exemplifying a label y: (C1) y denotes x and (C2) x refers to y. While (C1) is uncontroversial, (C2) raises the question of how “refers to” should be interpreted. This problem is intertwined with three further questions that consequently should be discussed together with it. Are the two nec…Read more
  •  50
    The basic idea of logical expressivism in the Brandomian tradition is that logic makes inferential relations explicit and thereby accessible to critical discussion. But expressivists have not given a convincing explanation of what the point of logical theories is. Peregrin provides a starting point by observing a distinction between making explicit and explication in Carnap’s sense of replacing something unclear and vague by something clear and exact. Whereas logical locutions make inferential r…Read more
  •  44
    Epistemology and Emotions (edited book)
    with Ulvi Dogluoglu and Dominique Kuenzle
    Ashgate Publishing Company. 2008.
    This volume is the first collection focusing on the claim that we cannot but account for emotions if we are to understand the processes and evaluations related to empirical knowledge.
  •  43
    Logik ist nach dem traditionellen Verständnis eine ars iudicandi, eine Kunst, die Gültigkeit von Schlüssen zu prüfen. Damit die formalen Mittel der modernen Logik zu diesem Zweck eingesetzt werden können, müssen erst Formeln an die Stelle von Sätzen treten: umgangssprachliche Schlüsse müssen adäquat formalisiert werden. Die richtige Formel entwickelt ein theoretisches Konzept des Formalisierens und praktisch anwendbare Adäquatheitskriterien für Formalisierungen. Dabei werden zentrale Frage…Read more
  •  41
    Wer hat ein Problem mit irrationalen Präferenzen? Entscheidungstheorie und Überlegungsgleichgewicht
    Studia Philosophica: Jahrbuch Der Schweizerischen Philosoph Ischen Gesellschaft, Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Philosphie  68 11-41. 2009.
    Decision theory explicates norms of rationality for deriving preferences from preferences and beliefs. Empirical studies have found that actual preferences regularly violate these norms, launching a debate on whether this shows that subjects are prone to certain forms of irrationality or that decision theory needs to be revised. It has been claimed that such a revision is necessitated by the fact that normative uses of decision theory must be justified by a reflective equilibrium. The paper disc…Read more
  •  41
    Elgin has presented an extensive defence of reflective equilibrium embedded in an epistemology which focuses on objectual understanding rather than ordinary propositional knowledge. This paper has two goals: to suggest an account of reflective equilibrium which is sympathetic to Elgin’s but includes a range of further developments, and to analyse its role in an account of understanding. We first address the structure of reflective equilibrium as a target state and argue that reflective equilibri…Read more
  •  40
    Ranking policy options for sustainable development
    with Gertrude Hirsch Hadorn
    Poiesis and Praxis 5 (1): 15-31. 2008.
    Sustainable development calls for choices among alternative policy options. It is a common view that such choices can be justified by appealing to an evaluative ranking of the options with respect to how their consequences affect a broad range of prudential and moral values. Three philosophically motivated proposals for analysing evaluative rankings are discussed: the measured merits model (e.g. Chang), the ordered values model (e.g. Griffin), and the permissible preference orderings model (Rabi…Read more
  •  37
    In der Architekturtheorie ist häufig von der Identität von Bauwerken oder Städten die Rede. Der Ausdruck „Identität“ bezieht sich dabei auf etwas, was man „spezifischen Charakter“ nennen könnte. Wir schlagen eine symboltheoretische Explikation dieses Identitätsbegriffs vor und zeigen, in welchem Sinn ein Bauwerk verschiedene, sich verändernde oder gar konfligierende Identitäten haben kann. Identitäten von Bauwerken werden oft als mehr oder weniger klar, positiv, angemessen oder stark bewertet. S…Read more
  •  14
    Die Zähmung der logisch Widerspenstigen (review)
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 65 (3): 613-619. 2017.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie Jahrgang: 65 Heft: 3 Seiten: 613-619.
  •  4
    Reconstructing Arguments
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 17 (1): 94-129. 2014.
    Traditional logical reconstruction of arguments aims at assessing the validity of ordinary language arguments. It involves several tasks: extracting argumentations from texts, breaking up complex argumentations into individual arguments, framing arguments in standard form, as well as formalizing arguments and showing their validity with the help of a logical formalism. These tasks are guided by a multitude of partly antagonistic goals, they interact in various feedback loops, and they are intert…Read more
  •  3
    Philosophie kann dazu beitragen, dass wir vernünftiger mit den Problemen umgehen, die unsere Gesellschaft und ihr Selbstverständnis herausfordern. Dazu muss die Philosophie sich aber öffentlich einmischen und verstärkt in die Bildung Einzug halten – diese Position vertritt vorliegender Band. Die Beiträge von Anne Burkard, Rainer Hegselmann, Romy Jaster und Markus Wild zeigen einerseits auf, welche Rolle die Philosophie in öffentlichen Debatten spielen kann und soll. Andererseits analysieren sie,…Read more