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What I believe an explanation is!


Doctordick
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First of all, in order to have an explanation, one needs something to explain. Whatever it is that is to be explained, it can be certainly be categorized as some kind of information. It thus follows that "an explanation" is something which is done to (or for) information. The central issue is then, if we are to define "an explanation" in general, we must lay down exactly what an explanation does to (or for) that information.

 

If anyone wants to discuss that issue, I will respond.

 

Have fun -- Dick

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First of all, in order to have an explanation, one needs something to explain. Whatever it is that is to be explained, it can be certainly be categorized as some kind of information. It thus follows that "an explanation" is something which is done to (or for) information. The central issue is then, if we are to define "an explanation" in general, we must lay down exactly what an explanation does to (or for) that information.

If anyone wants to discuss that issue, I will respond.

 

Have fun -- Dick

 

An explanation records information. :)

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Originally Posted by Turtle

An explanation records information. :)

Nah; I wouldn't buy that! That would make the library of congress an explanation and I am afraid that isn't what most people would accept. :lol: :wave:

 

Have fun -- Dick

 

Levity and brevity! Nice. :hyper: Seems quite an unqualified leap you made there to say that just because all explanations constitute records of information that all records of information must then constitute explanations. :eek2: Nonetheless, your point taken, let me add a word of qualification. :lol:

 

An explanation records qualified information. :eek:

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First of all, in order to have an explanation, one needs something to explain. Whatever it is that is to be explained, it can be certainly be categorized as some kind of information. It thus follows that "an explanation" is something which is done to (or for) information. The central issue is then, if we are to define "an explanation" in general, we must lay down exactly what an explanation does to (or for) that information.

 

I am curious about the genesis of this thread. Since the quote above could be inserted into almost any page of the "Spacetime" thread without being out of place, I can't help wondering if this is a response to something said elsewhere.

 

Am I right?

 

--lemit

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An explanation records qualified information. :Glasses:
It appears to me that you misunderstand the issue of definition itself. The purpose of a definition is to allow discrimination; given a definition, one may examine a particular incident and certify (via that definition alone) that the incident is or is not a member of the set of things so defined.

 

Thus you are asserting that, if I examine some information and decide that the information is “qualified” (whatever the meaning of qualified might be; notice that you are leaving that issue open) then the information “is” an explanation! My original thesis was that an explanation did something to or for information which implies it is something quite different from mere “information”. So I have two complaints with your “definition”; first, that it essentially moves the definition into that other word (and I am pretty sure your intended meaning was “it qualifies as an explanation” which actually skirts the whole issue) and, second, it denies my suggestion without giving any reason for that rejection.

 

Now I am very willing to accept that "an explanation" can be "recorded" but a great many things can be "recorded" so that is not a very definitive characteristic.

I am curious about the genesis of this thread. Since the quote above could be inserted into almost any page of the "Spacetime" thread without being out of place, I can't help wondering if this is a response to something said elsewhere.
Of course you are right; I never post anything without it being a response to “something”. Just as an aside, I think just about anything could have been posted to the “Spacetime” thread without being out of place as it seemed to have no “thread” to it at all. :oh_really:

 

This thread has to do with someone trying to understand my original proof of my fundamental equation and I suggested I would start a new thread in an attempt to clarify the presentation of the paper “A Universal Analytical Model of Explanation Itself” which was originally composed some twenty years ago. I suggested we could go through that paper paragraph by paragraph to clarify exactly what I was trying to say. My opening post to this thread is essentially a paraphrase of the opening paragraph which seems to be unclear to many people.

 

You can add your comments to this thread if you wish.

 

Have fun – Dick

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It appears to me that you misunderstand the issue of definition itself. The purpose of a definition is to allow discrimination; given a definition, one may examine a particular incident and certify (via that definition alone) that the incident is or is not a member of the set of things so defined.

 

No; I understand it as you say. I started small & intend to build my definition around your objections as we go.

 

Thus you are asserting that, if I examine some information and decide that the information is “qualified” (whatever the meaning of qualified might be; notice that you are leaving that issue open) then the information “is” an explanation!

 

I did not leave the meaning of "qualified" open; in my original post it is linked to a dictionary definition. I expected, and expect, that if you et al find that definition defficient you will interpose your objection(s). Note that I also linked "record" to a dictionary definition for similar effect so we don't have to go all out first principles here.

 

My original thesis was that an explanation did something to or for information which implies it is something quite different from mere “information”. So I have two complaints with your “definition”; first, that it essentially moves the definition into that other word (and I am pretty sure your intended meaning was “it qualifies as an explanation” which actually skirts the whole issue) and, second, it denies my suggestion without giving any reason for that rejection.

 

Yes; I think I understood your original thesis. As a foundation of constructing a definition of "explanation", an explanation must "record" information (the act of recording is doing "something" to and/or for information), regardless of any further "qualifiers" we may wish or need to add to the definition. I did look at writing "An explanation qualifies recorded information" rather than "An explanation records qualified information.", however it seems to me the qualification of information precedes the recording. :oh_really:

 

Now I am very willing to accept that "an explanation" can be "recorded" but a great many things can be "recorded" so that is not a very definitive characteristic.

 

I think any explanation must needs be a record, not simply can be a record.

 

You finish here by restating my objection to you objecting to my first definition, i.e.

Nah; I wouldn't buy that! That would make the library of congress an explanation and I am afraid that isn't what most people would accept.
Seems quite an unqualified leap you [Doctor Dick] made there to say that just because all explanations constitute records of information that all records of information must then constitute explanations.
So I was pointing out your non sequitor I think they call it.

 

 

An explanation records qualified information.

So we have a start on a definition that you dislike for its exclusions rather than inclusions, oui/no? That is to say, you think it is "wrong" because of what it does not say about the specifics of qualifiers?

 

That's all I got I guess 'til I get some more objections to work on. :Glasses:

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And what distinction are you referring to? ;)

 

distinction to the info (the thing that needs to be explained).

distinction, differentiation, discrimination, they meant the same thing.

 

we rely or base on our cognizant ability to tell us what is real and unreal or what can be known. so whether we use an electron microscope or the Hubble telescope, perceiving must be the basis of access to these information.

 

all explanation is a self referencing system. as cognizing entity, we set a point of reference to discriminate from all other points. this self referencing system can now recognize pattern, order, hierarchies, relationships of the reference point against the rest of the points., then we can go on to identify, categorize these patterns. with this principle, all things can be generated, explained, conceptualized.

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I agree. There must be something to be explained.

 

I also agree that the next thing is to define the nature of explanation--either, who, what, how, when, why?

 

Generally, the WHO, and WHAT, is empirical. Once we observe the WHO and WHAT, we can proceed to the important question of HOW--because HOW-explanation is predictive of all future observed WHOs and WHATs.

 

The easiest way to approach HOW-explanation is to define it as algorithm that connects WHO1 and WHAT1, to WHO2 and WHAT2. In essence, the HOW-explanation is the knowledge of the "process" between state1 and state2--and often it holds true regardless of how we define WHO and WHAT.

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There seems to be a major misunderstanding going on here. The purpose of this thread was to try to explain my definition of “an explanation” and I was intending to cover objection to that definition.

I started small & intend to build my definition around your objections as we go.
I have no intention of objecting to your definition. If you have something important which you can deduce from your definition, have at it. I was taking your comments to be objections to my definition which apparently was not your intention. So this whole thread is based on misunderstanding.

 

It appears that the thread has become a place for people to present (or work out) their personal definitions of “an explanation”: i.e., quite analogous to the “Spacetime” thread. I now understand lemit's post

I am curious about the genesis of this thread. Since the quote above could be inserted into almost any page of the "Spacetime" thread without being out of place, I can't help wondering if this is a response to something said elsewhere.

 

Am I right?

 

--lemit

I think lemit is quite right!

 

So, since this thread is not concerning itself with the issue I tried to bring up, I will abandon it to you all and start another (on another day) which might be more to the point I was trying to bring up.

 

Have fun -- Dick

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First of all, in order to have an explanation, one needs something to explain. Whatever it is that is to be explained, it can be certainly be categorized as some kind of information. It thus follows that "an explanation" is something which is done to (or for) information. The central issue is then, if we are to define "an explanation" in general, we must lay down exactly what an explanation does to (or for) that information.

 

If anyone wants to discuss that issue, I will respond.

 

I agree with this paragraph and I'd be interested in discussing the issue.

 

You say that an explanation does something to (or for) information. I agree. I wonder if whatever definition we give "information", the explanation itself must also qualify as information under that definition. If that were the case then an explanation could be seen as additive. Let me explain,

 

I posit that an explanation transforms non-comprehensible and non-understandable information into comprehensible and understandable information. By this rational we could give qualities to unexplained information (were we to analyze it) such as not being able to predict a portion of the information from the remaining information or not being able to sort the information into patterns which exist within the information. The process of the explanation (whatever that is) would transform the information such that predictions about a portion of the information could be made given the remaining information and patterns within the information could be identified.

 

If the explanation is itself information then the transformation involves (but would not necessarily be limited to) adding information to the set of unexplained information. For example, here is some unexplained information:

1 1 2

2 2 4

3 3 6

4 4 8

To explain the information we add additional information:

1 + 1 = 2

2 + 2 = 4

3 + 3 = 6

4 + 4 = 8

Of course, this is not a complete explanation of arithmetic. It is only meant to represent a limited set of unexplained information vs. a set of partially explained information. My point being: one quality of an explanation is that it is additive. The set of unexplained information is necessarily smaller than an equivalent set of explained information.

 

I therefore propose that one thing which an explanation does to (or for) information is to expand its size.

 

Would you agree Doctordick, and what else would you propose the explanation does?

 

~modest

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There seems to be a major misunderstanding going on here. The purpose of this thread was to try to explain my definition of “an explanation” and I was intending to cover objection to that definition.

I have no intention of objecting to your definition [Turtle]. If you have something important which you can deduce from your definition, have at it. I was taking your comments to be objections to my definition which apparently was not your intention. So this whole thread is based on misunderstanding.

 

:read: Yes I agree with all, save humbly suggesting the thread is based on misexplanation. :Alien: :hyper:

 

 

So, since this thread is not concerning itself with the issue I tried to bring up, I will abandon it to you all and start another (on another day) which might be more to the point I was trying to bring up.

 

Have fun -- Dick

 

Don't run off Doc. I have no objections as you say, so I withdraw to watch.I see you have other respondents already as it is. Carry on. ;)

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Modest, I appreciate your interest and you have moved me to respond.

I wonder if whatever definition we give "information", the explanation itself must also qualify as information under that definition. If that were the case then an explanation could be seen as additive. Let me explain,
I agree; however, I would deny that it is part of the information to be explained. That conclusion is arrived at through the following reasoning.

 

I have elsewhere divided the information standing behind an explanation (i.e., the information being explained) into two very different categories: valid and hypothesized information. Valid information is defined to be the actual information to be explained and hypothesized information is an essential part of the explanation. That is to say, hypothesized information must be true if the explanation is to be valid; however, if the explanation is removed (discounted or disproved) the hypothesized information may also be removed. Valid information, on the other hand, being the actual information to be explained can not ever be removed: each and every explanation must explain that information.

 

From this perspective, the explanation itself qualifies only as hypothesized information; thus it does not add to the “valid” information.

I posit that an explanation transforms non-comprehensible and non-understandable information into comprehensible and understandable information.
I would not argue with this statement at all; however, it does require we define exactly what is meant by the quality “understood”. (I am presuming here that “comprehensible” simply means that “it can be understood” thus the issue of determining that an explanation makes the information “understood” covers both ideas.)

 

So, how do we come to the conclusion that a body of information is “understood”? Actually, this is a problem faced by every teacher in the history of the world. They attempt to discover the answer to that question by testing their students. The tests can easily be seen as an interaction where the teacher provides some information and then examines the students response to that information (that is why they call them “examinations” :rockon: ). If the student's response is consistent with the possible responses the teacher would give to the same information, then the teacher will presume the student understands the information. I think any conceivable test which can be given can be cast into that format.

 

Thus it is that “I” come to the conclusion that “understanding” has to do with predicting information. There is one subtle cavil which needs to be brought up. If “all” the information is known then any question about the information can be answered; but that doesn't really fit the common concept of “understanding”; “knowing” and “understanding” are usually thought of as different concepts. Modest is bringing up that issue when he says

The process of the explanation (whatever that is) would transform the information such that predictions about a portion of the information could be made given the remaining information and patterns within the information could be identified.
I would like to simplify that argument a bit. Let me put forth the idea that anything which would allow one to predict information not known from information which is known could be called an understood explanation. Now again I bring up another subtle cavil. That idea, as specified, seems to require actual prediction. Let me suggest that an explanation need not actually do such a thing. If we turn the proposed solution around, one could say that, given an arbitrary prediction, an acceptable explanation could tell us if that prediction were acceptable or not. I do this because this point of view turns the situation to a relationship which can be easily expressed.
I therefore propose that one thing which an explanation does to (or for) information is to expand its size.
I would agree with that; however, I would put it a little differently. Any explanation of anything would, of necessity, add “hypothesized information”.

 

Would you agree modest or do you have some serious complaints with my position at this point?

 

Twenty years ago I wrote,

I will suggest that what an explanation does for information is that it provides expectations of subsets of that information. That is, it seems to me that if all the information is known, then any questions about the information can be answered (in fact, that could be regarded as the definition of "knowing"). On the other hand, if the information is understood (explainable), then questions about the information can be answered given only limited or incomplete knowledge of the underlying information: i.e., limited subsets of the information. What I am saying is that understanding implies it is possible to predict expectations for information not known; the explanation constitutes a method which provides one with those rational expectations for unknown information consistent with what is known.
Does anyone have a suggestion for clarifying what I said twenty years ago: i.e., anything I have omitted that you think should be there?
Don't run off Doc. I have no objections as you say, so I withdraw to watch.I see you have other respondents already as it is. Carry on. :rockon:
No need to withdraw; I take your opinions rather seriously. I just didn't want to be the motivating force behind another “Spacetime” thread.

 

Have fun -- Dick

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Valid information is defined to be the actual information to be explained

 

are not these valid info what we called as self-evident?

 

and hypothesized information is an essential part of the explanation. That is to say, hypothesized information must be true if the explanation is to be valid; however, if the explanation is removed (discounted or disproved) the hypothesized information may also be removed.

 

so hypo info that is based in a valid info is also a worldview?

 

Valid information, on the other hand, being the actual information to be explained can not ever be removed: each and every explanation must explain that information.

 

how do know that a established valid info is always valid.

 

I will suggest that what an explanation does for information is that it provides expectations of subsets of that information. That is, it seems to me that if all the information is known, then any questions about the information can be answered (in fact, that could be regarded as the definition of "knowing"). On the other hand, if the information is understood (explainable), then questions about the information can be answered given only limited or incomplete knowledge of the underlying information: i.e., limited subsets of the information. What I am saying is that understanding implies it is possible to predict expectations for information not known; the explanation constitutes a method which provides one with those rational expectations for unknown information consistent with what is known.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion for clarifying what I said twenty years ago: i.e., anything I have omitted that you think should be there?

 

isn't this , what we called theory?

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I believe I follow what you are saying about what explanations do to information. And although I will respond via words, I decided to, on top of words, also represent this visually (redundant, obvious or not). The framework is an explanation.

 

A simple set of diagrams that show, a starting point of information (the circle, the left most point) that provides a framework for a varies set of predictions.

 

In knowing, predictions are 1) made 2)checked and 3)validated.

 

In understanding, the predictions are 1)made 2)not-checked 3)not-validated

 

In misunderstanding, predictions are not valid, not made....

 

I even colored it for, Green is a go! Orange is a Caution! Red is a zzzz wrong stop! (lol)

 

So.. is the doodle worthless? or helpful? They say a picture says a thousand words. :hihi:

post-2478-128210106242_thumb.jpg

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