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Just Trying To Clear Things Up A Bit.


Doctordick
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Qfwfq, I am afraid that I simply cannot comprehend where and why you disagree with my presentation. Your complaints make utterly no sense to me. In the interest of clearing that issue up, I am starting this new thread in an attempt to discover exactly where you disagree with my proof. You bring up the issue of universality quite often and, regarding that issue, I want to know if you have any complaints on my definition of "an explanation".

 

Essentially, I have defined an explanation to be anything which provides answers to questions asked regarding that which is to be be explained. That definition requires only two things to be understood: whatever it is that is being explained and what the questions are. Do you have any serious complaints concerning my definition?

 

What is important here is that, in order for that definition to be totally universal, whatever it is that is being explained cannot be constrained in any manner; nor can the applicable questions to be answered be constrained in any manner. Those two specific issues are fundamental to the definition being universal. Is that issue clear to you?

 

Looking forward to your answer -- Dick

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I have defined an explanation to be anything which provides answers to questions asked regarding that which is to be be explained.
Hello DD. Well, this is a nice example of what I was trying to explain to AnissH on another thread, e.g., how you use multiple definitions for the same concept over time, here for the concept "explanation". This new definition that you present on this thread is NOT, I repeat NOT, the definition of explanation that you are presented on other threads ! Now you have that an explanation is "anything", but recall that in previous definitions an explanation was referred to as a "procedure".

 

Consider this example of some circumstance: Mother to Son...Son explain your action. Answer of Son...No!

 

According to your revised definition the answer of the Son, No, meets your definition of being an "explanation" because the word provides an answer to a question asked by the Mother regarding that which is to be explained (an action). But, common sense tells us that no "explanation" is provided by the Son to the Mother.

 

Opposite to your motivation for posting this new thread to "clear things up a bit" you have only created the opposite effect of messing things up a lot.

 

Please, as I requested of AnissH...you MUST provide a list of definitions that you use for your presentation by proof. I have no problem if you have 100 different definitions for any one word such as explanation (which is true of any dictionary), but you must stop adding new definitions to concepts over time then asking people...what is it you do not understand ?

 

Here is what I do not understand. What I don't understand is why you introduce multiple definitions of the same concept and expect anyone to understand your presentation (via proof) that so critically requires that you stick to one definition for the proof to make any sense.

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I have defined an explanation to be anything which provides answers to questions asked regarding that which is to be be explained.
:doh: and I thought you had defined it as being a procedure for computing expectations (probabilities) of outcomes. But you go on to say:
...nor can the applicable questions to be answered be constrained in any manner. Those two specific issues are fundamental to the definition being universal.
which makes us think your current definition is even wider than the previous, since in that one the only questions could be of the form: "What is the probability of outcome X?"

 

In any case Dick, here you are not talking about the validity of your FE being universal, a distinct matter from that of which questions an explanation is required to be able to answer.

 

In short, could you get your act together and be self-coherent?

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Hello DD. Well, this is a nice example of what I was trying to explain to AnissH on another thread, e.g., how you use multiple definitions for the same concept over time, here for the concept "explanation". This new definition that you present on this thread is NOT, I repeat NOT, the definition of explanation that you are presented on other threads !

I normally do not answer your posts because you have pretty well convinced me that abstract thought is simply beyond your comprehension and this is just more of the same. I have not put forth multiple definitions at all; I have simply tried to rephrase the thing so that some of you might begin to comprehend what I am talking about. You have apparently totally missed the fact that I began that sentence with the word “essentially”: i.e., it is no more than a rephrasing of what I have been talking about from the word go. I don't think you even begin to comprehend the breadth of my meaning. I want the definition to be as unconstrained as possible: i.e., anything which might be considered an explanation by someone is to be included. That is the essential nature of “universally applicable”.

 

Now you have that an explanation is "anything", but recall that in previous definitions an explanation was referred to as a "procedure".

Only a simple minded person would consider a simple list of answers to all appropriate questions to constitute an explanation. Oh yes, that is rather close to the common concept. The common masses think that if they answer all your questions on a specific subject, they will have explained something to you. And, in a sense, they have. The only problem with that perspective is that what they are really saying is that, having answered all your questions, you now understand the explanation they have in mind. The difficulty with that position is that it assumes the logic required to answer the relevant questions is embedded in that collection of answers. But that is not the kind of abstract thought one can expect from most people. A decent explanation does not simply yield a list of answers to questions but rather provides a logical procedure for coming up with answers beyond those simply given.

 

If your explanation provides no such procedure, it is essentially the “what is” is “what is” explanation; about the most worthless explanation conceivable.

 

Consider this example of some circumstance: Mother to Son...Son explain your action. Answer of Son...No!

Certainly that can be seen as an explanation if you wish to see it that way (it certainly isn't a very useful explanation). It is an extremely compartmentalized example of the “what is” is “what is” explanation. It answers but one question. In that sense it is in reality no more than a restatement of the “what is” is “what is” explanation: i.e., it provides no answers beyond the statement that “it provides no answers”.

 

What I don't understand is why you introduce multiple definitions of the same concept and expect anyone to understand your presentation (via proof) that so critically requires that you stick to one definition for the proof to make any sense.

My proof does not require anything beyond the fact that explanations yield answers to questions.

 

:doh: and I thought you had defined it as being a procedure for computing expectations (probabilities) of outcomes. But you go on to say:which makes us think your current definition is even wider than the previous, since in that one the only questions could be of the form: "What is the probability of outcome X?"

God Qfwfq, I thought you had a little more intellectual moxie than Rade. My definition was never constrained to require any specific form of a question. What I did (as part of my proof) was argue that any body of information constituting a collection of answers to questions could be represented by a collection of answers to the question "What is the probability of outcome X?" If outcome X constitutes the answers to that collection of questions then I think my conclusion is quite trivial. Sorry if it seems to be beyond your comprehension.

 

In any case Dick, here you are not talking about the validity of your FE being universal, a distinct matter from that of which questions an explanation is required to be able to answer.

No, I am not talking about the validity of my fundamental equation being universal (that has to do with the proof). I am talking about my definition of an explanation, trying to discover where you go so astray. Something no one here save Anssi seems to comprehend. If I can't get my definition clear to you I am obviously wasting my time trying to discuss what can be deduced from that definition.

 

If that is indeed the case, let me know and I will go away.

 

Dick

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I have not put forth multiple definitions at all; I have simply tried to rephrase the thing so that some of you might begin to comprehend what I am talking about.
Dear DD, as you say, only a simple minded person does not understand that rephrasing a concept [such as explanation] in different ways is what we find when we open a dictionary. Each rephrase statement is a multiple definition being put forth.

 

Try as you may to be cute with your sad essential answer, you did in fact open this thread with a question asking if your "definition" of explanation is understood. You specially asked for questions about YOUR DEFINITION that you presented. You used the word define or "definition" three times as given below:

 

I have defined an explanation to be anything which provides answers to questions asked regarding that which is to be be explained. That definition requires only two things to be understood: whatever it is that is being explained and what the questions are. Do you have any serious complaints concerning my definition?

 

If your explanation provides no such procedure' date=' it is essentially the “what is” is “what is” explanation; about the most worthless explanation conceivable.[/quote']But, the example I provided about the dialog between the Mother and Son is not essentially a "what is is what is" explanation. Such an explanation has no procedure attached because it is a tautology, an example being A = A explanation. However, the Son did not give any type of "what is what is" response.

 

Certainly that can be seen as an explanation if you wish to see it that way (it certainly isn't a very useful explanation).
No' date=' that is incorrect. It is not in any way certain that the "NO!" answer of the Son to the Mother can be seen to be an "explanation". It is something, but it is not an explanation, NOT AS YOU DEFINED IT IN THE OP.

 

Also, I completely disagree with your claim the the answer provided by the Son was not useful to the Mother. Any Mother that had a Son respond to them in such a way would find the respond to be very useful, for the exact reason that the answer provided IS NOT AN EXPLANATION.

 

My proof does not require anything beyond the fact that explanations yield answers to questions.
False. Your proof requires that EVENTS EXIST prior to any explanation of them. How can you not understand this ?

 

The common masses think that if they answer all your questions on a specific subject' date=' they will have explained something to you. And, in a sense, they have. The only problem with that perspective is that what they are really saying is that, having answered all your questions, you now understand the explanation they have in mind.[/quote']The common masses ? Who are these folks ? I do not know anyone, outside you, that holds a perspective that if they answer all questions asked of them that the person asking the question has understanding the explanation the person answering the questions has in mind ! Only a mind reader could hold such a perspective. Once again, in an attempt to add clarity (the title of this new post you begin) you add nothing but confusion, here because you have in your mind a warped worldview of the perspective of the so-called "common masses".

 

If I can't get my definition clear to you I am obviously wasting my time trying to discuss what can be deduced from that definition.
I Repeat' date=' WHAT DEFINITiON !?? [/b'] State it clearly for this new thread else you are wasting everyone's time.
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This thread is no doubt going to go round in circles. It won't be long, at that point, till it gets closed. People don't always have too much time too waste.

No, I am not talking about the validity of my fundamental equation being universal (that has to do with the proof).
But I was. In the OP you said:
You bring up the issue of universality quite often and, regarding that issue, I want to know if you have any complaints on my definition of "an explanation".

and indeed the thing I was discussing with Anssi was exactly what you say you aren't talking about.

 

I have no difficulty understanding your definition, which you posit as being "of an explanation". It should be clear even from what I say in this thread and you are replying to, that I understand the definition itself; further, I don't move any objections toward it apart from whether it is equivalent to what most would call "an explanation" but who the hell cares. The only reason I said you are changing your meaning of the word is because:

What I did (as part of my proof) was argue that any body of information constituting a collection of answers to questions could be represented by a collection of answers to the question "What is the probability of outcome X?" If outcome X constitutes the answers to that collection of questions then I think my conclusion is quite trivial.
I'm quite usnure that absolutely every question could be so converted. But, if you want to call your famous definition a tomato, I have often said OK, fine, let's call it that.

 

It's not because I'm sure questions such as "What has outcome X been so far?" or "Why and how does situation A bring about outcome X?" can be considered as the same thing as "What is the probability of outcome X?" but what the hell; It's only because I have no whatsoever interest in arguing about this as well as the things I was discussing with Anssi. But if I mention it, something tells me that

......
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But I was. In the OP you said:and indeed the thing I was discussing with Anssi was exactly what you say you aren't talking about.

But seriously, I don't have any idea as to what you are discussing with Anssi. Maybe you are going around in circles but I am not. At least I am now aware of one point you are having problems with, that's better than what I understood prior to this.

 

I'm quite unsure that absolutely every question could be so converted.

Please explain to me why you are unsure of that. First we need not worry about unanswerable questions. Since we are talking about explanations here, “unanswerable questions” are trivial: just give the question a numerical label and attach zero as “not possible”. So we are only concerned with answerable questions. Every answerable question can be seen as a circumstance (or a collection of circumstances): which is followed by an answer which is also a circumstance (or a collection of circumstances). Both are thus representable by a collection of numerical labels. (I am presuming you don't have a problem with that. If you do, please let me know.)

 

Now if the explanation provides but one acceptable answer to the question, the circumstance so provided can be given the probability of one and all others zero. If on the other hand, the explanation will accept more than one answer, we simply examine the explanation and take each answer as a separate circumstance. Either the explanation gives equal weight to each answer or it doesn't. If it does, we just attach one divided by the number of answers and that is the probability of each answer as given by the

explanation. If it doesn't, we make an estimate of the different weights implied and again, we have a mechanism for determining the probability of the represented circumstance. It is the explanation which brings that probability judgment to us.

 

Please explain to me why you believe explanations can yield answerable questions for which that analysis can not be applied.

 

It's not because I'm sure questions such as "What has outcome X been so far?" or "Why and how does situation A bring about outcome X?" can be considered as the same thing as "What is the probability of outcome X?"

Now I do not understand that statement at all. :surrender:

 

It's not because ... “Something”. That something which "does not stand behind your complaint" is: the fact that, you are sure questions such as "What has outcome X been so far?" or "Why and how does situation A bring about outcome X?" can be considered as the same thing as "What is the probability of outcome X?"

 

The statement just doesn't make any sense to me. The sentence implies you are saying that you think the first two questions are equivalent to the third question. Is that what you intended or should it be just the opposite? It makes more sense to me that you meant to say the opposite? I would sincerely agree with the fact that “How does situation A bring about outcome X?” is certainly not equivalent to “What is the probability of outcome X?” The first has to do with what an explanation explains and the second has to do with what every explanation provides to us. The two are very different things.

 

This could be the critical issue between us. It could be that you are looking at my statements from the perspective of the first question; whereas I am making my analysis from the perspective of the second. The analysis I am making concerns itself only with the second as it is impossible to make any such analysis from the perspective of the first. In order to work from the first, you would have to know the explanation and certainly no one can hope to show that they know every possible explanation.

 

Nevertheless, every explanation must provide some way to determine what circumstances are or are not consistent with that explanation. If we can come up with a universal way of representing any possible circumstance, that is an analyzable concept. The central issue of my presentation is that we can represent any circumstance with [math](x_1,x_2,\cdots,x_n,t)[/math] where the arguments are nothing but numerical labels for the relevant elements of the explanation. Of course, in order to specify those labels you need to know every detail of the explanation being representing. The power of the attack is that you don't need the explanation to set down the representation and its consequences in terms of circumstances.

 

but what the hell; It's only because I have no whatsoever interest in arguing about this as well as the things I was discussing with Anssi.

I have a strong suspicion your arguments with Anssi are a direct consequence of what I am talking about here. And I have no more desire to go “round and round” than you do. Please consider this to be a serious attempt by me to understand what your underlying complaints are. When I read your posts, I am totally unable to relate what you are saying to what I have presented.

 

Please give me a chance to understand you -- Dick

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So we are only concerned with answerable questions.
OK, so you would be concerned with my example from above, which I repeat here: <Mother to Son, explain your actions. Son, No!> Clearly you are concerned with this example of a circumstance of a question asked associated with the circumstance of an answer provided to the question. And, as I explained above, this is NOT an example of a "what is is what is" circumstance, neither from the reference frame of the Mother or the Son.

 

Now if the explanation provides but one acceptable answer to the question' date=' the circumstance so provided can be given the probability of one and all others zero.[/quote']OK, let us look at my example above of something you would be concerned with.

 

Clearly the Son provides only one answer to the question asked by the Mother. However, note that the answer is only acceptable from the reference frame of the Son, and not the reference frame of the Mother. So, you are incorrect to assume that all examples of valid explanations must provide acceptable answers for both the circumstance of the question and circumstance of the answer. To correct this error, you must allow for two different probabilities that simultaneously hold as expectation: (1) where the explanation provides one answer that is acceptable to both reference frames (in this example, Mother and Son), and (2) where the explanation provides one answer that is only acceptable to either reference frame (either Mother or Son, but not both). The label approach you present only relates to the first possibility, not the second. To correct this error you will need to modify your mathematical presentation to allow for simultaneous expectations from multiple reference frames for any given set of question + answer circumstances.

 

If on the other hand' date=' the explanation will accept more than one answer, we simply examine the explanation and take each answer as a separate circumstance.[/quote'] You have the same problem here as in the situation above where the explanation will accept only one answer.

 

Please explain to me why you believe explanations can yield answerable questions for which that analysis can not be applied.
Sure' date=' happy to help, read the above.

 

The central issue of my presentation is that we can represent any circumstance with [math](x_1,x_2,\cdots,x_n,t)[/math] where the arguments are nothing but numerical labels for the relevant elements of the explanation.
But, as seen above, one can provide a valid explanation as an answer type circumstance [the No answer of the Son] that contains non-relevant elements from the reference frame of the circumstance of the question asked [the Mother]. The label approach you present cannot deal with that possibility because you fail to consider simultaneous reference frames where the elements for a valid explanation can be both relevant and non-relevant.

 

Of course' date=' in order to specify those labels you need to know every detail of the explanation being representing.[/quote'] What does this mean from the reference frame of the No answer of the Son ? How can the Mother claim to know every detail of the No answer explanation provided by the Son ? At best, before you can specify any label, you must define what it means to "know every detail" and explain how one comes to have absolute certain knowledge for the details of any circumstance related to explanation. Your presentation is completely opposite the scientific method, which has as goal to gain "uncertain knowledge" of circumstances...in contrast to the methods of science you demand absolute knowledge of "every detail of the explanation" before one can proceed to specify labels. Based on this claim you make, I think this thread is better placed in the strange claim section of the Philosophy area of the forum.

 

Edit: I notice a problem with this comment:

 

Please explain to me why you believe explanations can yield answerable questions for which that analysis can not be applied.
You have the request backward. Explanations do not yield answerable questions. This is clearly seen in the No answer of the Son' date=' which is an explanation in response to a question.

 

What your request should read is...please explain why answerable questions (such as the question asked by the Mother that can be answered) can yield explanations (the No answer of the Son) for which that analysis can not be applied. The reason your analysis can not be applied is explained above.

 

Edit #2. I see a problem with this claim you make in response to Qfwfq

 

The analysis I am making concerns itself only with the second as it is impossible to make any such analysis from the perspective of the first. In order to work from the first, you would have to know the explanation and certainly no one can hope to show that they know every possible explanation.
So, suppose a circumstance of a flat board with two situations A and B. Situation A is represented by 10 round holes, situation B is represented by 10 square holes, all 20 randomly positioned. Now, the question of concern is "how does situation A bring about outcome X, with outcome X represented by 100% probability that a round rod can be placed fully into any of the 20 holes. Now, contrary to your claim, one can know the explanation, and every possible explanation, for the question of concern. Now, as you say, your presentation has no interest in the analysis of such explanation, but it is false to say that it is impossible to make any such analysis.
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Well then why the hell did you start this whole topic, for talking about the things I was discussing with Anssi?

As I said, I was attempting to clear up your complaints for me and was asking for your help. If I am going to give you any credit for thinking I have to figure out where the devil you are coming from; as far as I can tell, nothing you say has anything to do with the proof of my fundamental equation and I can only presume you have no better grasp of that proof than Rade does.

 

Clearly the Son provides only one answer to the question asked by the Mother. However, note that the answer is only acceptable from the reference frame of the Son, and not the reference frame of the Mother.

Now where in the hell did you get the idea that an explanation needs to be acceptable to two people in order to be seen as an explanation? In your example, it is entirely possible that neither party would accept what you put forth as an explanation. However, if either of them did decide to see it as a valid explanation it would indeed qualify (for the purposes of abstract analysis) under the “what is” is “what is” category. What I am talking about are the constraints implied by the definition of an explanation. If it isn't acceptable as an explanation, why would the constraints be of any interest at all? Certainly not to someone who didn't accept it as an explanation.

 

I get the distinct impression that you apparently never read a thing I say.

 

I would sincerely agree with the fact that “How does situation A bring about outcome X?” is certainly not equivalent to “What is the probability of outcome X?” The first has to do with what an explanation explains and the second has to do with what every explanation provides to us. The two are very different things.

If you understand an explanation (and the circumstances being explained), then you know what answers to expect. That is all I am talking about; I have utterly no interest in determining what is or is not an explanation; my only interest is in the abstract consequences of the definition. If I attempted to establish what was and what was not "an explanation", my results certainly could not be considered universal in any sense of the word. Can you not comprehend the value of that perspective? Or do you just not want to think about it. As Russell said, “most people would rather die than think” and it appears to be a rather appropriate description of most posters on this forum.

 

Have fun -- Dick

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Now where in the hell did you get the idea that an explanation needs to be acceptable to two people in order to be seen as an explanation?
From the way you worded your definition in the OP. Open your Webster' date=' so we see that a common sense understanding of the word explanation is:

 

"A MUTUAL declaration of motives, etc., to clear up a misunderstanding or settle a dispute". Mutual means it must by definition be acceptable to two people.

 

So, your fundamental equation (as currently derived) does not apply to the common sense definitional requirement that any explanation needs to be acceptable to two people simultaneously. To correct this error in your fundamental equation, you will need to start over with the mathematical process from step #1 and add the simultaneity definitional requirement. I predict that when you do this, your tau dimension will vanish from your equation, and you will derive what Einstein published in different form.

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Rade,

 

Your assertion is that if the explanation is not acceptable to two people (simultaneously or not) it is not an explanation. That kind of removes the universality of your definition. I know of no one who would assert such a constraint on the use of the term. Under your assertion, “that is a ridiculous explanation” would be a meaningless statement.

 

In fact, I am afraid I know a lot of people who consider their “explanations” to be “explanations” even when no one with any sense at all would find them to be acceptable.

 

You and Qfwfq don't think your comments out at all do you.

 

Have fun -- Dick

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Your assertion is that if the explanation is not acceptable to two people (simultaneously or not) it is not an explanation.
Again, when the Son provided the answer NO! to the Mother when she asked him to explain his actions, the single word answer provided does not raise the circumstance to the level where one would conclude an explanation was provided, even if the meaning of the word NO! was completely understood by one person (Son) and not the other (Mother). By definition (not mine, from Webster) any explanation must have mutual acceptability of the words used simultaneously. In this circumstance the Son provides a Command, not an Explanation. The probability of acceptability to this circumstance would be p = 0 for Mother and p = 1 for Son, SIMULTANEOUSLY. By definition, to assign any probability of acceptability to any circumstance of explanation (not all circumstances require explanation) both the reference frame of the person providing the explanation and the person receiving the explanation must be included. In your proof you do not consider the probability of simultaneous points of view concerning acceptability. If you do, please provide the documentation.
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If you do, please provide the documentation.

You apparently missed the entire point of the "blah, blah, blah" issue.

 

What you want to discuss is immaterial to my presentation. Go read that post again.

 

If you have no aspects of your definition which you can prove are universal constraints on all explanations (even explanations you have not yet seen) then the only issue of interest here becomes that specific phrase, “it provides answers to questions regarding the things to be explained”. The issue of that phrase is quite simple: do there exist explanations which provide no answers to any questions whatsoever regarding the things supposedly being explained or is that indeed a universal aspect of all explanations?

 

In your proof you do not consider the probability of simultaneous points of view concerning acceptability.

I don't consider acceptability a relevant issue at all. If one does, then no explanations can have ever existed as. If acceptability is a universal requirement of all explanations then something cannot be an explanation until acceptability by a second person is achieved. If that is the case what the devil is the first person talking about prior to completing the communication? It certainly cannot be an explanation. And, if no explanation can ever be created how can such a thing be communicated? :D

 

Your assertion is totally meaningless.

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