The Importance of Understanding Deep Learning
Some machine learning models, in particular deep neural networks (DNNs), are not very well understood; nevertheless, they are frequently used in science. Does this lack of understanding pose a problem for using DNNs to understand empirical phenomena? Emily Sullivan has recently argued that understanding with DNNs is not limited by our lack of understanding of DNNs themselves. In the present paper, we will argue, contra Sullivan, that our current lack of understanding of DNNs does limit our ability to understand with DNNs. Sullivan’s claim hinges on which notion of understanding is at play. If we employ a weak notion of understanding, then her claim is tenable, but rather weak. If, however, we employ a strong notion of understanding, particularly explanatory understanding, then her claim is not tenable.
August 7, 2022 at 05:34PM
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