In addition to the phenomenal aspects examined by the subproject “Interpersonal and Phenomenal Understanding”, interpersonal understanding also seems to have an evaluative dimension. That is, it seems to require an element of “endorsement” of the target person, her mental states, or her behaviour. This becomes particularly evident in negative cases of avowals of lack of understanding, in which subjects express that they really cannot understand how X could do Y, even though they can give an adequate explanation of X’s behaviour. While positive cases of avowals of understanding, such as “I really understand you”, are less common, this evaluative dimension is also elucidated by the fact that interpersonal understanding is often taken to be closely related to morally valuable relationships. Interpersonal understanding is, for example, frequently connected to forgiveness as evidenced by the German phrase “Wir bitten um Verständnis” as well as the French proverb “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner”. Moreover, being an understanding person is often seen as a moral virtue, which would be puzzling on a purely epistemic view of interpersonal understanding.
The subproject aims at constructing a theory of the evaluative component of interpersonal understanding referred to as “endorsement” as well as a related account of the virtue of being an understanding person.