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Understanding (in German: Verstehen) is the power of the human mind to grasp or comprehend the significance of a situation faced by men, from the knowledge of given, but incomplete, data not subject to identical repetition.

Understanding seeks the meaning of action in intuition of a whole. Understanding takes into account not only given facts but also the reactions of other men, value judgments, the choice of ends and the means to attain such ends and the valuation of the expected outcome of actions undertaken. Understanding is the result of intellectual insight rather than factual knowledge, but it must always be in harmony with (not contradict) the valid teachings of all other branches of knowledge, including those of the natural sciences. Understanding is practiced by everyone and is the only appropriate method for dealing with history and the uncertainty of future conditions, or any other situation where our knowledge is incomplete.[1]


  1. Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-08-25.