What is it to understand?
We understand many things: positions on chessboards, how a theorem is proven, or what makes a painting appealing. But what is it to understand something, in general? We may identify two kinds of relevant features. Often we undergo conscious experiences of understanding that have a specific feel to them. “Aha”, we may say to ourselves, “now I’ve got it!” And, typically, when we understand something, we reap new knowledge about it, or come to be able to explain better what we knew beforehand. My dissertation addresses this question: How does conscious experience connect with reaching a better-grounded knowledge of what we understand? I answer that experiences of understanding help gain more or better knowledge because, in them, we attend to the right aspects of phenomena we inquire into.