Concept

Explanation

Summary
An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set 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 any objects or phenomena examined. Explanation, in philosophy, is a set of statements that makes intelligible the existence or occurrence of an object, event, 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 support (e.g., “Most people who use tobacco contract cancer; this person used tobacco; therefore, this person contracted cancer”). Explanation
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