When Mathematicians, Historians, and Scientists Say That They Have Explained Something, Are They Using the Word ‘Explain' in the Same Way?

Topics: Scientific method, Inductive reasoning, Theory Pages: 4 (1083 words) Published: March 6, 2007
When mathematicians, historians, and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain' in the same way?

Marcel Wallace
IB #001089
TOK #1(Final Draft)
Word Count:

We all have ways of acquiring information about the complex world in which we live. Mathematicians, historians, and scientists each have their own respective procedure of determining truths and justifying their judgments. Each uses their own Area of Knowledge to present findings and explain occurrences. But, since they are coming from various Areas of Knowledge, are their methods of explanation different, even though we accept their work as truths all the same? Mathematicians, historians, and scientists explain things using varying types of evidence exclusive to their field, but there is still some overlapping between the methods of explanation. Even though we see differences between the methods of explanation in the various Ways of Knowing, there often times that the process in each way of knowing begins with perception. Perception is the awareness of an entity by use of the senses. It combines different sensory stimuli over time into a single unified whole. The result is the awareness of things and ideas. Mathematicians, historians, and scientists acquire raw information about the world around us through perception. They can then take that information and try to understand it. All knowledge still though, is derived from this common root. Often times in these disciplines there is overlapping of fields: scientists use math to figure out a problem or predict results, and historians will sometimes use science to explain or prove their assumptions. The word 'explanation' is used in a wide variety of ways in the English language. We speak of explaining the meaning of a word, explaining the background to philosophical theories of explanation, explaining how to bake a pie, explaining why one made a certain decision, explaining irregular occurrences and...
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