•  24
    Towards a Benchmark for Scientific Understanding in Humans and Machines
    with Kristian Gonzalez Barman, Sascha Caron, and Tom Claassen
    Minds and Machines 34 (1): 1-16. 2024.
    Scientific understanding is a fundamental goal of science. However, there is currently no good way to measure the scientific understanding of agents, whether these be humans or Artificial Intelligence systems. Without a clear benchmark, it is challenging to evaluate and compare different levels of scientific understanding. In this paper, we propose a framework to create a benchmark for scientific understanding, utilizing tools from philosophy of science. We adopt a behavioral conception of under…Read more
  •  23
    Towards a Benchmark for Scientific Understanding in Humans and Machines
    with Kristian Gonzalez Barman, Sascha Caron, and Tom Claassen
    Minds and Machines 34 (1): 1-16. 2024.
    Scientific understanding is a fundamental goal of science. However, there is currently no good way to measure the scientific understanding of agents, whether these be humans or Artificial Intelligence systems. Without a clear benchmark, it is challenging to evaluate and compare different levels of scientific understanding. In this paper, we propose a framework to create a benchmark for scientific understanding, utilizing tools from philosophy of science. We adopt a behavioral conception of under…Read more
  •  26
    Understanding, Virtually: How Does the Synthetic Cell Matter?
    with Daphne Broeks and Tarja Knuuttila
    Perspectives on Science 32 (3): 394-414. 2024.
    This paper examines how scientific understanding is enhanced by virtual entities, focusing on the case of the synthetic cell. Comparing it to other virtual entities and environments in science, we argue that the synthetic cell has a virtual dimension, in that it is functionally similar to living cells, though it does not mimic any particular naturally evolved cell (nor is it constructed to do so). In being cell-like at most, the synthetic cell is akin to many other virtual objects as it is selec…Read more
  •  13
    Philosophy of Earth Science
    with Maarten G. Kleinhans and Chris J. J. Buskes
    In Fritz Allhoff (ed.), Philosophies of the Sciences, Wiley‐blackwell. 2010-01-04.
    This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction Object and Aims of Earth Science The Autonomy of Earth Science Explanation in Earth Science Conclusion Acknowledgment References.
  •  6
    What is the future of science and technology? Will academic research become a commodity like so much else? Will technology and science become ever more intertwined? Such questions concern anyone to whom science and technology matter. A philosophical approach can shed light on them, as Hans Radder has amply shown. This volume contains essays by colleagues and friends that highlight the wide variety of topics he has addressed in his work. Whether it is the interaction between science, technology a…Read more
  •  25
    Understanding in synthetic chemistry: the case of periplanone B
    with Milo D. Cornelissen
    Synthese 200 (6): 1-31. 2022.
    Understanding natural phenomena is an important aim of science. Since the turn of the millennium the notion of scientific understanding has been a hot topic of debate in the philosophy of science. A bone of contention in this debate is the role of truth and representational accuracy in scientific understanding. So-called factivists and non-factivists disagree about the extent to which the theories and models that are used to achieve understanding must be true or accurate. In this paper we addres…Read more
  •  122
    A Davidsonian argument against incommensurability
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2). 2002.
    The writings of Kuhn and Feyerabend on incommensurability challenged the idea that science progresses towards the truth. Davidson famously criticized the notion of incommensurability, arguing that it is incoherent. Davidson's argument was in turn criticized by Kuhn and others. This article argues that, although at least some of the objections raised against Davidson's argument are formally correct, they do it very little harm. What remains of the argument once the objections have been taken acco…Read more
  •  43
    Focusing on scientific understanding
    with Sabina Leonelli and K. Eigner
    In Henk W. De Regt, Sabina Leonelli & Kai Eigner (eds.), Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives, University of Pittsburgh Press. 2008.
  •  197
    Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives (edited book)
    with Sabina Leonelli and Kai Eigner
    University of Pittsburgh Press. 2008.
    The chapters in this book highlight the multifaceted nature of the process of scientific research.
  •  19
    The Hows and whys of philosophy of science teaching: a comparative analysis
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4): 1-16. 2021.
    What makes teaching philosophy of science to non-philosophy students different from teaching it to philosophy students, and how should lecturers in philosophy adapt to an audience of practitioners of a field of study that they are reflecting on? In this paper we address this question by analyzing the differences between these student groups, and based on this analysis we make suggestions as to how philosophy of science can be taught to non-philosophy students in an effective and attractive way. …Read more
  • Building Bridges. Connecting Science, Technology and Philosophy (edited book)
    with C. Kwa
    VU University Press. 2014.
  •  54
    Understanding is a central aim of science and highly important in present-day society. But what precisely is scientific understanding and how can it be achieved? This book answers these questions, through philosophical analysis and historical case studies, and presents a philosophical theory of scientific understanding that highlights its contextual nature.
  •  26
    Investigating the Unity and Disunity of Scientific Explanation
    with Erik Weber and Dingmar van Eck
    Foundations of Science 26 (4): 1021-1024. 2020.
  •  12
    This is a collection of high-quality research papers in the philosophy of science, deriving from papers presented at the second meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association in Amsterdam, October 2009.
  •  23
    Introduction: Norms, Naturalism, and Scientific Understanding
    with Jan Faye
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (3): 323-326. 2019.
  •  92
    Terra incognita: Explanation and reduction in earth science
    with Maarten G. Kleinhans and Chris J. J. Buskes
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (3). 2005.
    The present paper presents a philosophical analysis of earth science, a discipline that has received relatively little attention from philosophers of science. We focus on the question of whether earth science can be reduced to allegedly more fundamental sciences, such as chemistry or physics. In order to answer this question, we investigate the aims and methods of earth science, the laws and theories used by earth scientists, and the nature of earth-scientific explanation. Our analysis leads to …Read more
  •  205
    Visualization as a Tool for Understanding
    Perspectives on Science 22 (3): 377-396. 2014.
    The act of understanding is at the heart of all scientific activity; without it any ostensibly scientific activity is as sterile as that of a high school student substituting numbers into a formula. Ordinary language often uses visual metaphors in connection with understanding. When we finally understand what someone is trying to point out to us, we exclaim: “I see!” When someone really understands a subject matter, we say that she has “insight”. There appears to be a link between visualization …Read more
  •  1
    Science has not only produced a vast amount of knowledge about a wide range of phenomena, it has also enhanced our understanding of these phenomena. Indeed, understanding can be regarded as one of the central aims of science. But what exactly is it to understand phenomena scientifically, and how can scientific understanding be achieved? What is the difference between scientific knowledge and scientific understanding? These questions are hotly debated in contemporary epistemology and philosophy o…Read more
  •  113
    Understanding and explanation: Living apart together?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3): 505-509. 2013.
  •  65
    Wesley salmon's complementarity thesis: Causalism and unificationism reconciled?
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2). 2006.
    In his later years, Wesley Salmon believed that the two dominant models of scientific explanation (his own causal-mechanical model and the unificationist model) were reconcilable. Salmon envisaged a 'new consensus' about explanation: he suggested that the two models represent two 'complementary' types of explanation, which may 'peacefully coexist' because they illuminate different aspects of scientific understanding. This paper traces the development of Salmon's ideas and presents a critical ana…Read more
  •  86
    Understanding, Values, and the Aims of Science
    Philosophy of Science 87 (5): 921-932. 2020.
    The understanding that comes with scientific explanation is regarded as one of the central epistemic aims of science. In earlier work I have argued that scientists achieve understanding of phenomen...
  •  102
    Reduction and understanding
    Foundations of Science 3 (1): 45-59. 1998.
    Reductionism, in the sense of the doctrine that theories on different levels of reality should exhibit strict and general relations of deducibility, faces well-known difficulties. Nevertheless, the idea that deeper layers of reality are responsible for what happens at higher levels is well-entrenched in scientific practice. We argue that the intuition behind this idea is adequately captured by the notion of supervenience: the physical state of the fundamental physical layers fixes the states of …Read more
  •  46
    This paper approaches the scientific realism question from a naturalistic perspective. On the basis of a historical case study of the work of James Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann on the kinetic theory of gases, it shows that scientists’ views about the epistemological status of theories and models typically interact with their scientific results. Subsequently, the implications of this result for the current realism debate are analysed. The case study supports Giere’s moderately realist view …Read more
  •  2
    Proceedings of EPSA09 (edited book)
    Springer. 2012.
    This is a collection of high-quality research papers in the philosophy of science, deriving from papers presented at the second meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association in Amsterdam, October 2009.
  •  352
    The epistemic value of understanding
    Philosophy of Science 76 (5): 585-597. 2009.
    This article analyzes the epistemic value of understanding and offers an account of the role of understanding in science. First, I discuss the objectivist view of the relation between explanation and understanding, defended by Carl Hempel and J. D. Trout. I challenge this view by arguing that pragmatic aspects of explanation are crucial for achieving the epistemic aims of science. Subsequently, I present an analysis of these pragmatic aspects in terms of ‘intelligibility’ and a contextual accoun…Read more