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An explanation is a mix of statements usually constructed to lớn describe a mix of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts. It may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing rules or laws in relation to lớn any objects or phenomena examined.
Explanation, in philosophy, is a mix of statements that makes intelligible the existence or occurrence of an object, sự kiện, or state of affairs. Among its most common forms are:
- Causal explanation
- Deductive-nomological explanation, which involves subsuming the explanandum under a generalization from which it may be derived in a deductive argument (e.g., “All gases expand when heated; this gas was heated; therefore, this gas expanded”)
- Statistical explanation, which involves subsuming the explanandum under a generalization that gives it inductive tư vấn (e.g., “Most people who use tobacco contract cancer; this person used tobacco; therefore, this person contracted cancer”).
Explanations of human behaviour typically appeal to lớn the subject’s beliefs and desires, as well as other facts about the subject, and proceed on the assumption that the behaviour in question is rational (at least to lớn a minimum degree). Thus an explanation of why the subject removed his coat might cite the fact that the subject felt hot, that the subject desired to lớn feel cooler, and that the subject believed that he would feel cooler if he took off his coat.
A presupposition of most recent discussion has been that science sometimes provides explanations (rather kêu ca “mere description”) and that the task of a “theory” or “model” of scientific explanation is to lớn characterize the structure of such explanations. It is thus assumed that there is a single kind or khuông of explanation that is “scientific”. In fact, the notion of “scientific explanation” suggests a contrast between those “explanations” that are characteristic of “science” and those explanations that are not, and, second, a contrast between “explanation” and something else. However, the tendency in much of the recent philosophical literature has been to lớn assume that there is a substantial continuity between the sorts of explanations found in science and at least some forms of explanation found in more ordinary non-scientific contexts, with the latter embodying in a more or less inchoate way features that are present in a more detailed, precise, rigorous etc. khuông in the former. It is further assumed that it is the task of a theory of explanation to lớn capture what is common to lớn both scientific and at least some more ordinary forms of explanation.
A notable theory of scientific explanation is Hempel's Deductive-nomological model. This model has been widely criticized but it is still the starting point for discussion of most theories of explanation.
Explanations vs. arguments
The difference between explanations and arguments reflects a difference in the kind of question that arises. In the case of arguments, we start from a doubted fact, which we try to lớn tư vấn by arguments. In the case of explanations, we start with an accepted fact, the question being why is this fact or what caused it. The answer here is the explanation.
For instance, if Fred and Joe address the issue of whether or not Fred's cát has fleas, Joe may state: "Fred, your cát has fleas. Observe the cát is scratching right now." Joe has made an argument that the cát has fleas. However, if Fred and Joe agree on the fact that the cát has fleas, they may further question why this is sánh and put forth an explanation: "The reason the cát has fleas is that the weather has been damp." The difference is that the attempt is not to lớn settle whether or not some claim is true, but to lớn show why it is true. In this sense, arguments aim to lớn contribute knowledge, whereas explanations aim to lớn contribute understanding.
While arguments attempt to lớn show that something is, will be, or should be the case, explanations try to lớn show why or how something is or will be. If Fred and Joe address the issue of whether or not Fred's cát has fleas, Joe may state: "Fred, your cát has fleas. Observe the cát is scratching right now." Joe has made an argument that the cát has fleas. However, if Fred and Joe agree on the fact that the cát has fleas, they may further question why this is sánh and put forth an explanation: "The reason the cát has fleas is that the weather has been damp." The difference is that the attempt is not to lớn settle whether or not some claim is true, but to lớn show why it is true.
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Arguments and explanations largely resemble each other in rhetorical use. This is the cause of much difficulty in thinking critically about claims. There are several reasons for this difficulty.
- People often are not themselves clear on whether they are arguing for or explaining something.
- The same types of words and phrases are used in presenting explanations and arguments.
- The terms 'explain' or 'explanation,' et cetera are frequently used in arguments.
- Explanations are often used within arguments and presented sánh as to lớn serve as arguments.
Explanation vs. justification
The term explanation is sometimes used in the context of justification, e.g., the explanation as to lớn why a belief is true. Justification may be understood as the explanation as to lớn why a belief is a true one or an trương mục of how one knows what one knows. It is important to lớn be aware when an explanation is not a justification. One may give a detailed and believable trương mục on something without giving a single proof.
There are many and varied events, objects, and facts which require explanation. So too, there are many different things that can be used to lớn explain something. Aristotle recognized four archetypes of explanation. These were thought, since even more ancient times, to lớn be universal and unique 'kinds' of explanation that comprise all ways of explaining something. However, there is much confusion about their precise definition and how they relate to lớn each other. Types of explanation involve appropriate types of reasoning, such as Deductive-nomological, Functional, Historical, Psychological, Reductive, Teleological, Methodological explanations.
Theories of explanation
- Deductive-nomological model
- Statistical relevance model
- Causal Mechanical model
- Unificationist model
- Pragmatic theory of explanation
- Moore, Brooke Noel and Parker, Richard. (2012) Critical Thinking. 10th ed. Published by McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-803828-6.
Look up explanation in Wiktionary, the không tính tiền dictionary.
Media related to lớn Explanation at Wikimedia Commons
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- Explanation at PhilPapers
- Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Scientific Explanation". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- "Theories of Explanation". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Explanation in several languages and meanings