explanation


explanation
/ek'spleuh nay"sheuhn/, n.
1. the act or process of explaining.
2. something that explains; a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable; exposition: an explanation of a poem.
3. a meaning or interpretation: to find an explanation for a mystery.
4. a mutual declaration of the meaning of words spoken, actions, motives, etc., with a view to adjusting a misunderstanding or reconciling differences: After a long and emotional explanation they were friends again.
[1350-1400; ME explanacioun < L explanation- (s. of explanatio), equiv. to explanat(us) (see EXPLANATE) + -ion- -ION]
Syn. 1. elucidation, explication, exposition, interpretation, description. 3. solution, key, answer.

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In philosophy, set of statements that makes intelligible the existence or occurrence of an object, event, or state of affairs.

Among the most common forms of explanation are causal explanation (see causation), deductive-nomological explanation (see covering-law model), 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") and 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"). Explanations of human behaviour typically appeal to the subject's beliefs and desires, as well as other facts about him, and proceed on the assumption that the behaviour in question is rational (at least to 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 feel cooler, and that the subject believed that he would feel cooler if he took off his coat.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Explanation — Ex pla*na tion, n. [L. explanatio: cf. OF. esplanation.] 1. The act of explaining, expounding, or interpreting; the act of clearing from obscurity and making intelligible; as, the explanation of a passage in Scripture, or of a contract or treaty …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Explanation — (lat.), Erklärung, Erläuterung, Auslegung; explanatīv, erläuternd; explanieren, auslegen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Explanation — Explanation, lat. dtsch., Erklärung; explanativ, erklärend; explaniren, erklären …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • explanation — I noun amplification, annotation, clarification, commentary, deciphering, defense, definition, delineation, demonstration, description, elucidation, enucleation, exegesis, exemplification, explanatio, explicatio, explication, exposition,… …   Law dictionary

  • explanation — (n.) late 14c., from L. explanationem (nom. explanatio), noun of action from pp. stem of explanare to make plain or clear, explain, lit. make level, flatten, from ex out (see EX (Cf. ex )) + planus flat (see PLANE (Cf. plane) (n …   Etymology dictionary

  • explanation — [n] clarification; reason account, annotation, answer, breakdown, brief, cause, comment, commentary, confession, definition, demonstration, description, details, display, elucidation, evidence, example, excuse, explication, exposition, expression …   New thesaurus

  • explanation — [eks΄plə nā′shən] n. [ME explanacioun < L explanatio < pp. of explanare] 1. the act of explaining 2. something that explains 3. the interpretation, meaning, or sense given in explaining 4. a mutual defining of terms, declaration of motives …   English World dictionary

  • explanation — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ convincing, credible, good, likely, logical, natural, obvious, plausible, probable, rational ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • explanation — n. 1) to give, offer, provide an explanation 2) to accept an explanation 3) a lucid; rational; satisfactory; simple; unsatisfactory explanation 4) an explanation for 5) an explanation that + clause (they accepted her explanation that she had been …   Combinatory dictionary

  • explanation */*/*/ — UK [ˌekspləˈneɪʃ(ə)n] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms explanation : singular explanation plural explanations 1) a reason you give for something that has happened or something you have done I expected an explanation and an apology.… …   English dictionary

  • explanation — [[t]e̱kspləne͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] ♦♦♦ explanations 1) N COUNT: also of/in N If you give an explanation of something that has happened, you give people reasons for it, especially in an attempt to justify it. She told the court she would give a full… …   English dictionary


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