Philosophy Books by David Chart

Philosophy is a rather heavier subject than RPGs, and has a smaller target audience. In the grand scheme of things, I suspect that philosophy is ultimately more significant, and I really enjoy doing it. Thus, it is a matter of some regret that, so far, I've only written one philosophy book; a revised version of my PhD dissertation. If I get some time to spend on writing that doesn't bring in money, I will definitely go back and try to produce some more philosophy. In the meantime, I keep up with some of the literature, and hope that I don't lose my ability to think about deep issues.

A Theory of Understanding

Ashgate Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7546-1400-X

This book explains the way in which I think we understand the world. It is based on my PhD dissertation, and is mainly aimed at academic philosophers. However, a number of intelligent lay people have assured me that they could follow it.

My basic idea is that understanding is the ability to simulate part of the world; to predict how it will behave under a wide range of conditions. The wider the range of conditions and the more accurate the simulation, the better the understanding. An explanation, then, is something that offers to improve understanding. I think this theory neatly explains a lot of the features of explanations, including the fact that attempts to provide a unified theory based on features of explanations themselves have all failed dismally.

I also think that the theory has potentially important consequences for understanding reference, the problem of how our thoughts can be about things in the world. However, I've not had the opportunity to put in the time needed to work those thoughts out in detail. I just have a short sketch sitting on my hard drive.