Mechanistic vs. Functional Understanding

Editor Stephen Grimm just signed off on a chapter Tania and I wrote for the upcoming OUP book on Varieties of Understanding, "Mechanistic vs. Functional Understanding". We explore the extent to which research on modes of contrual in psychology suggest that there are different kinds of understanding. (Answer: in some ways yes, and in other ways it's less clear.)

Here's the full reference:

(Forthcoming) Lombrozo, T., and Daniel A. Wilkenfeld. “Mechanistic vs. Functional Understanding.” In  Varieties of Understanding: New Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology, edited by Stephen R. Grimm. New York: Oxford University Press.

Youtube Video

My Center for Philosophy of Science youtube profile just went live, with special guest appearances by DeShone Kizer and Rachael. I watched it once and so far only noticed one thing I definitively wish I hadn't said, which for me is a pretty good hit rate. (I can be fairly self-critical.)

If you have trouble with the link, here's the URL:


There's an EEL in Cognition

 “The Explanatory Effect of a Label: Explanations with Named Categories Are More Satisfying,” written by myself, Carly Giffin, and Tania Lombrozo, is forthcoming in Cognition! It turns out that when you name a condition people think it's more explanatory, seemingly because they import all sorts of causal assumptions.

Understanding for Hire

"Understanding for Hire" which puts forward a new epistemic value problem for understanding, then sort of solves it, just got accepted by the Journal for General Philosophy of Science! It is co-written by myself and Christa Johnson.

Moore Foundation

I've just joined as a post-doctoral researcher a team building a groundbreaking course introducing students to scientific and philosophical thinking. People involved include John Campbell, Tania Lombrozo, Alicia Alonzo, and Saul Perlmutter. It's fun getting to discuss science-education with a Nobel Prize winner.

SPP 2016 (with Bonus CogSci Talk)

I presented a poster on the explanatory status of mental disorders (“Are symptom clusters explanatory? A study in mental disorders and noncausal explanation"), co-authored with Tania Lombrozo and Jenn Asselin. Jenn would subsequently present the data at CogSci.

MUDdy Understanding

My paper wherein I argue that representational accuracy and intelligibility are both important dimensions of understanding evaluation ("MUDdy Understanding") was accepted by Synthese. It's been a good couple of months.