Philosophy of Social Science Events

Upcoming Events | Past Events

Event: Workshop: Explanation and Understanding

Event date May 23, 2018 - May 25, 2018
Submission deadline March 15, 2018
Location Ghent, Belgium
Host(s) Ghent University
Event website/information



Workshop on 



Ghent University, 23-25 May 2018 

The scope of this workshop

Science aims, inter alia, for explanation and one of the aims of explanation is to provide understanding. But how to account for this link between explanation and understanding? Most earlier accounts of explanation either took understanding to be of little philosophical interest – just a psychological phenomenon without epistemic import – or considered the notion redundant – everything philosophically interesting could be captured with explanatory concepts, making ideas on understanding superfluous. Either way, for a long time the philosophy of science by and large ignored understanding, focusing on explanation instead. Things are very different now: the last two decades have seen a flourishing philosophical literature on the relation between explanation and understanding. And perspectives diverge greatly: while some argue that current ideas about understanding offer nothing distinctively new and relevant over and above explanatory concepts, others stress the distinctive role of understanding vis-à-vis explanation, and yet others make the case that one can have understanding without explanation.


Most of this recent literature appears to focus on full-fledged theories and explanations, neglecting other aspects of the explanatory enterprise. For instance, how does the idea of understanding play out in the context of explorative phases preceding scientific discovery, or in (the early phases of) discovery? What is the (epistemic) role of understanding in the usage of how-possibly models or hypothetical models to explain aspects of real systems? How does understanding relate to abstraction and idealization practices?

For this workshop we invite submissions that address questions regarding the relation between explanation and understanding. Topics include, but are not limited to the following:


·       Relations between types of understanding and specific accounts of explanation

·       Comparisons between accounts of scientific understanding

·       The role of understanding in scientific exploration and discovery

·       The role of understanding in modeling practices

·       Discipline-related differences in scientific explanation and understanding

·       The possibility of understanding without explanation.

·       Explanations in practical contexts (e.g. diagnosis, failure analysis, redesign, …)

·       Embedded and extended cognition in relation to explanation and understanding.
Keynote speakers

Catarina Marchionni (Helsinki)

Alexander Reutlinger (München)
How to submit an abstract
We welcome submissions on any topic that fits into the scope as described above. Send your abstract of 300 to 500 words to:  before 15 March 2018.
Notification of acceptance: 31 March 2018.
More information about the workshop (venue, registration, …) is available at The program will be available around 15 April.

This workshop is organized by the scientific research network Logical and Methodological Analysis of Scientific Reasoning Processes (LMASRP) which is sponsored by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).
All information about the network can be found at
An overview of the previous workshops of the network can be found at

Bookmark the permalink.