The Two Factor Theory of Understanding (TFTU): Consciousness and Procedures

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The two factor theory of understanding (TFTU) is based on two fundamental factors. The first posits that consciousness is a necessary condition for understanding. It is not possible to understand an explanation if it is not, or has not been, represented in an individual’s con-sciousness. The second posits that understanding stems from responding to questions in a particular field, which are posed in accordance with procedures of understanding relevant to that field. This is a broad definition that includes two classes of procedures: class (a) includes answers, explanations, and understandings given using scientific procedures that meet the methodological requirements of science; class (b) includes answers, explanations, and understandings given using everyday procedures that do not meet all of these methodological requirements. The two classes provide an individual with understanding when the answers or explanations to questions emerge, or have emerged, in a person’s consciousness. This paper discusses the various implications arising from TFTU and compares it with other approaches. The present theory emphasizes that, since a solution to the problem of consciousness has yet to be found within the framework of accepted scientific methodology, it is difficult to reject class (b), the everyday procedures, that provide understanding for very large groups of people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-369
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Mind and Behavior
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Institute of Mind and Behavior, Inc.


  • Consciousness
  • Explanation
  • Explanatory procedures (models)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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