Acta Analytica

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 71–81 | Cite as

Understanding, Problem-Solving, and Conscious Reflection

  • Andrei MărăşoiuEmail author


According to Zagzebski (2001), understanding something is justified by the exercise of cognitive skills and intellectual virtues the knower possesses. Zagzebski develops her view by suggesting that “understanding has internalist conditions for success” (2001, p. 246). Against this view, Grimm (2017) raises an objection: what justifies understanding is the reliability of the processes by which we come to understand, and we need not be aware of the outcome of all reliable processes. Understanding is no exception, so, given that understanding something results from reliable processes, we need not always be aware of what we understand. I reply to Grimm’s objection; I argue that Zagzebski’s internalist requirement is best conceived as accessibility to conscious reflection. The accessibility condition is satisfied because understanding solves problems on the knower’s research agenda. And whenever problem-solving is non-trivial (in most real-life cognitive situations), the knower needs to reflect on what the best solving strategy is.


Funding Information

This work was supported by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation through a John S. Lillard fellowship.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The corresponding (and only) author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Corcoran Department of PhilosophyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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