ARGUMENTS VS EXPLANATIONS
An explanation is a group of statements that try to show how or why something is or will be the case. Specifically, we use an explanation when we try to explain what makes a claim true. The event or the phenomenon in question is usually accepted as a matter of fact. Explanations do NOT prove why something is the case.
Every explanation is composed of two parts: The explanandum (a statement that describes the event that is supposed to be explained), and the explanans (the statement or group of statements that provide the explaining). Here is an example: “The Columbia spacecraft disintegrated on reentry because its wing was damaged by flying foam debris during liftoff.” Explanandum: The Columbia spacecraft disintegrated on reentry (the known fact almost to everybody) Explanans: Its wing was damaged by flying foam debris during liftoff (the statement that sheds light, explains why, makes sense of the explanandum event.
An argument is a group of statements that try to show that something is, or will be, or should be the case. Specifically, we give an argument if we try to settle whether a claim is true. The claim/event in question is not accepted as a matter of fact; rather it needs to be proven that it is the case. The purpose of an argument is to prove that something is the case. Every argument is composed of two parts: The conclusion (the statement that describes the event that is supposed to be proven true), and the premises (a set of statements that provide the evidence for the conclusion). Here is an example: “Since Edison invented the phonograph, he deserves credit for a major technological development.” Conclusion: Edison deserves credit for a major technological development (the statement that needs support/evidence proof) Premise: Edison invented the phonograph (the statement that provides the evidence)
DISTINGUISHING EXPLAINATIONS FROM ARGUMENTS
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