Third-Person Understanding
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding: The Gifford Lectures, University of Glasgow, 2001, Anthony J. Sanford, ed. (London: T.&T. Clark, 2003): 185-208
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    The topic of this series of Gifford Lectures is “The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding.” In my first1 paper, I argued that to know everything knowable by third-person science is not to know everything that there is to know. What is left out is first-person knowledge. In this paper, I want to suggest that even in the third-person realm, science is not cognitively exhaustive. I am now shifting from speaking of knowledge, as I did in “First-Person Knowledge,” to speaking of understanding, as I do here in “Third-Person Understanding.” Although I am not going to try to make the distinction between knowing and understanding precise, there is an intuitive contrast. A mathematical novice, presented with Gödel’s proof of the incompleteness of arithmetic, may well know that it is a proof of the incompleteness of arithmetic without understanding it at all. Or someone may know a piece of music in the sense of being able to give an analysis of it: Here is the tonic, followed by the dominant seventh, which is resolved in the last chord. But it does not follow that the person understands the piece of music; she may even be deaf.


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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: See "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - First-Person Knowledge".

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