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Knowledge and Understanding

Posted May 19, '13 at 7:23am

Moegreche

Moegreche

3,098 posts

Moderator

Hi everyone! It's been a while but I need some help. I'd love to hear you guys' thoughts on the difference between knowledge and understanding. For ease of discussion, I'd like to focus on explanatory knowledge and understanding. These are cases in which an agent knows or understands why something is the case.

So, for example, what (if anything) is the difference between these two statements:

(1) Bob knows why his house burned down.
(2) Bob understands why his house burned down.

Is there a case in which (1) would be true but (2) false? In other words can an agent know why something is the case without understanding that it's the case? On the other hand, can (2) be true whilst (1) is false? So can an agent understand why something is the case without the relevant knowledge?

If your answer is 'yes' to either of the questions posed above, I'd love a case in which this might happen. If it's 'no' then I'd love to hear your thoughts on why understanding and knowledge sway together.

I'm going to leave it at that and see what happens - I don't want to ruin this by filling out the cases too much or taint your intuitions with theoretical mumbo jumbo. Thanks for you time and help with this!

 

Posted May 19, '13 at 8:18am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,311 posts

Knight

Intuitively, the first instance where I see a difference between the two is when about the motives of someone. In this case, you can understand the reason that pushed someone to do something, but not why that person actually chose to do it.

That cannot be applied to your example, though, as it's lacking a will behind the fire. Maybe I'm also stretching the meaning of "understanding", I don't know. But if some force caused the fire, you could know how it made the fire but not understand why it chose to do so.

 

Posted May 19, '13 at 9:41am

partydevil

partydevil

5,135 posts

So, for example, what (if anything) is the difference between these two statements:

(1) Bob knows why his house burned down.
(2) Bob understands why his house burned down.


bob could know why his house burned down, by information that was given to him from experts investigating the case. and he would be able to sum it up in a conversation. while he wouldn't have actual understanding of those things that caused the fire. (and what he sums up) that the exports would have.

going by this thought i would say that understanding is a deeper knowledge of something then just knowing it.
 

Posted May 19, '13 at 12:25pm

EmperorPalpatine

EmperorPalpatine

9,479 posts

(1) would be true but (2) false?

Maybe in a case of terrorism, he knows that the terrorists wanted to destroy something, but doesn't understand why they considered it necessary.

can (2) be true whilst (1) is false?

Maybe in a case of generic arson, he understands that the bad guy has an obsession with fire, but doesn't know why his house was specifically picked to burn.
 

Posted May 19, '13 at 12:37pm

pangtongshu

pangtongshu

9,761 posts

I know how cells undergo mitosis/meiosis...but I do not understand it.

An example

 
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