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Understanding Understanding
Understanding Understanding
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Richard Mason - Author
SUNY Series in Philosophy
Price: $49.50 
Hardcover - 140 pages
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5871-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5871-6

Quantity:  
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 140 pages
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5872-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5872-3

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Summary

A study of the scope and limits of understanding.

How is understanding to be understood? Are there limits to understanding? What of importance, if anything, could lie beyond understanding? And do we need to understand knowledge before we can know about understanding? Richard Mason's argument is that a critical theory of understanding, modeled on past theories of knowledge, cannot be workable.

Understanding may bring wisdom: an uncomfortable thought for many philosophers in the twentieth century. Yet philosophy aims at expanding understanding at least as much as knowledge. How we understand understanding affects how we understand philosophy. If we put aside a narrow view of understanding based upon a Cartesian model of knowledge, we may gain a more liberal, open understanding of philosophy.

Mason's treatment of these fascinating problems offers a clear and lucid dialogue with a number of contemporary philosophical schools and with philosophy's past. His discussions include the thought of Hume, Henry James, Heidegger, Frege, Charles Taylor, Michael Oakeshott, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, James Joyce, and the Guyaki Indians. This fascinating book contributes to the work of many of these traditions as well as to the nature of understanding in areas as diverse as physics, music, and linguistics.

"The topic is fascinating and obviously central to philosophy. It brings together an eclectic set of thinkers." — Michael P. Hodges, coauthor of Thinking in the Ruins: Wittgenstein and Santayana on Contingency


Richard Mason (1948–2006) was a Fellow of Wolfson College at Cambridge. He is the author of Before Logic and Oppenheimer’s Choice: Reflections from Moral Philosophy, both also published by SUNY Press.



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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. What We Understand

2. How We Understand

3. Understanding and Knowledge

4. Intelligibility

5. Failures of Understanding

6. Beyond Understanding

7. Wisdom

Notes

Bibliography

Index of Names



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