Human beings strive for knowledge. But more often than not, we know that something is the case and are still left unsatisfied. We might know that out bike's tire is flat, that our partner broke up with us, and that it appears to get warmer every summer. And yet, this is not enough. What we are after is understanding. We want to know why the tire is flat, why our (ex-)partner broke up with us, and why it keeps getting warmer.

Relatedly, we might be impressed that our ten year old cousin knows a lot about quantum mechanics, but we still might have the impression that our cousin does not really understand the subject. And we might have the feeling that we have learned a lot about virus mutations through the media in the last months, but still don't think that we really understand how mutations come about. 

But what is understanding? What distinguishes understanding from 'mere' knowledge? Are there different varieties of understanding? And why do we value understanding? In this seminar we will learn answers to these questions that are debated in recent literature from philosophy of science and epistemology. We will also briefly discuss some ethical questions related to understanding in the domain of artificial intelligence (under what conditions do we understand the behaviour of artificially intelligent systems?) and medicine (does informed consent to a treatment require understanding that treatment?).

Literature will be announced in the first session of the seminar. For a good overview of issues we will discuss, prospective participants are encouraged to read §§1-4 of

Dienstag 10-12 Uhr (Tuesday 10am-12pm)
Ort: Gebäude B2 2 - Raum 2.23