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

Topics: Scientific method, Abductive reasoning, Inductive reasoning Pages: 3 (852 words) Published: May 6, 2008
Humans often feel the fundamental oddity to find and give an explanation for everything around them. Some people would say ‘that it’s in our blood’. Others say that this characteristic separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Our ability to ‘explain’ events, clauses, ideas and items gives us the capability to contemplate occurrences to bring different areas of knowledge into a higher and ample stature. In these areas of knowledge that we acquire through the process of explanation a sundry of definitions emerge. For in every area of knowledge, there is a dissimilar definition of ‘explain’ than the one before. This is because of the different ways that the explanation is acquired. In the common usage of ‘explain’, it is defined as “to make known in detail or to make clear the cause or reason of; account for”. This is the base meaning that additional areas of knowledge build their own altered definition from.

In observing and making note of these different definitions of ‘explain’ in various areas of knowledge, one can understand how the explanation came to be. For in that specific area of knowledge, the knowledge has to be acquired in an explicit manner. Though each area of knowledge may not have a specific written out definition of ‘explain’, they each have a collection of words that help evaluate the definition and that each answers a question of either who, what, when, where, why, and how.

In the area of mathematics, the usage of ‘explain’ is in that of a result of a rational deduction. The main questions mathematicians ask are why and how. By answering these questions, the mathematician then receives the explanation of their certain question. But the main function in ‘explaining’ an answer is to prove it. For when a mathematician wants to ‘explain’ something they first have to prove it to be correct, only then can they officially ‘explain’ their theory.

In the area of history the treatment of ‘explain’ is as in events that...
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