What is Explanation: Definition and 975 Discussions

An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts. This description may establish rules or laws, and may clarify the existing rules or laws in relation to any objects, or phenomena examined.Explanation, in philosophy, is a 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; deductive-nomological explanation, 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.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. G

    I Dirac delta function confusions

    I have read lots but still, there're some really unproductive explanations of dirac delta function. So hopefully, you can explain it by following my arguments and not formal definition because I've read it all. It's shown to be as ##\delta (x) = 0## when ##x \neq 0## and ##\delta (x) =...
  2. G

    B Time Dilation: Is This a Reasonable Explanation?

    I thought of this description recently and I think it's pretty intuitive, but I've gotten some side eye telling it to friends and family (maybe because relativity is screwy, maybe because I'm confused, maybe both?) so I want to get some confirmation that it's reasonable. Here goes: If you're in...
  3. E

    B Basic Angle Explanation for Statics

    My textbook introduces this angle concept really early on and I still don't understand it. It just shows that a normal to a line and some other random angle shown is the same. I don't see any transversal angles or anything. Where did they get the secondary line to form theta for the normal line?
  4. E

    Fourier's Law of Heat Transfer: Conceptual Explanation

    Hello, I'm looking over some old school notes and re-learning some basic heat transfer. I have known Fourier's Law (1D: ##q = k\frac{dT}{dx}##) for a long time, but when I look at it now I find it strange that heat flux is inversely proportional to the length of the conductor. I would think...
  5. ynojunin

    B My paraphrased explanation of the Twin Paradox

    So I've been trying really hard to understand the theory of relativity at its most basic level lately, and recently I dove down the rabbit hole of the Twin Paradox. This has led me through a series of youtube videos, each one claiming to present a different solution, explain why the other...
  6. H

    I Explanation of all "its linearly independent derivatives"

    I'm studying Differential Equations from Tenenbaum's, and currently going through non-homogeneous second order linear differential equations with constant coefficients. Method of Undetermined Coefficients is the concerned topic here. I will put forth my doubt through an example. Let's say we are...
  7. J

    B Matter-antimatter asymmetry - a simple explanation?

    Dear collegues, I would like to share and discuss a simple explanation to the matter-antimatter asymmetry. Maybe this explanation is too simple, but your feedback is appreciated. I would like to start with what inspired me to this idea. The Hawking radiation. You know the event horizon of a...
  8. H

    I Looking For Explanation of New Interferometer Article

    https://physics.aps.org/articles/v15/162 Looking for a layman's summary of this article. If I spent a couple of hours maybe I could do it. Then again, maybe not.
  9. DaveC426913

    B Gravitomagnetic explanation of Dark Matter

    I was reading a thread on my phone that was reviewing a paper about DM being explainable by gravitomagnetic effects. Now I can't find it in any search. It was on its fourth page - so at least 80 posts over at least two years. Anyway, what I wanted to ask was for a description that a layperson...
  10. varocketry

    Request a Diagram or Explanation to wire 220v-50/60hz UK 3-wire device

    Planning a kitchen renovation. We've found a SIEMENS iQ700 glass downdraft extractor [model LD98WMM60B] that we'd love to use. It, of course, is only available in EUROPE. EAN code : 4242003907122 Connection rating : 300 W Fuse protection : 10 A Voltage : 220-240 V Frequency : 50; 60 Hz Plug...
  11. mopit_011

    Doubt In Explanation of Proof of Chain Rule

    In Chapter 3 of Thomas’s Calculus, they give the following proof of the Chain Rule. After the proof, the text says that this proof doesn’t apply when the function g(x) oscillates rapidly near the origin and therefore leads delta u to be 0 even when delta x is not equal to 0. Doesn’t this proof...
  12. C

    A Physical explanation of time-correlation function and spectrum

    From my reading of several quantum optics textbooks and spectroscopy texbooks, the emission and absorption spectrum of an atom or molecule are always given in terms of the time-correlation function, for example the emission spectrum of a two level atom is given by: $$...
  13. Q

    B Pair production -- Seeking clarification of the explanation

    How did you find PF?: a web search on an item I am fact-checking. I have very little background in physics specifically. I do have a thirst for knowledge. I seek treasures in many places, when I find one I attempt to correlate and ingrate it with other tidbits I have found. I have more of a...
  14. crhurley

    I Looking for a Comprehensive Explanation of Natural Units

    Would anyone know of a book or article that comprehensively explains Natural Units? I am looking for a document that explains all the versions of natural units and why, when, and how to use these units. I am looking for a source that provides many examples of how to use Natural Units. I found...
  15. B

    I Explanation and clarifications in epsilon-delta limit proofs

    Good afternoon. I have some questions about the details of epsilon-delta proofs. Below is a simple, non-linear limit proof example which will serve as an example of the questions I have. The questions are below the example and involve clarification and explanations of steps and details in the...
  16. M

    Why is spaces equal to tree_height-1 in the Christmas tree code in Python?

    Hey! :giggle: I found online the following code for a christmas tree in Python : tree_height = input("Enter the tree height : ") tree_height = int(tree_height) spaces = tree_height-1 hashes = 1 stump_spaces = tree_height-1 while tree_height != 0 : for i in range(spaces)...
  17. alexandrinushka

    B Any plausible explanation for dynamical length contraction?

    I am new here, so pardon my ignorance. First of all, I am aware of the impossibility to distinguish experimentally between SR (Special Relativity) and LET (Lorentz Ether Theory). I know there is a PF policy article on LET and the Block Universe. I must admit though that LET is more appealing...
  18. M

    Pedrail Wheel -- Looking for the physical explanation

    What is the physical explanation behind the pedrail wheel (a.k.a the walking wheel). Someone said it "makes it's own road", but how does it allow a vehicle to climb stairs, navigate rough terrain etc.? I have looked all over the Internet and even visited a university library, but information on...
  19. S

    I A popular explanation of Bell's inequalities

    In one book on quantum mechanics, I found a very simple analogy to Bell's inequalities, which explains their essence without delving into the details of the physical experiment. I liked this analogy, but it seems the authors got it a little confused, so I ask for clarification if it is correct...
  20. J

    Gage Block Physics: Is It Understood?

    Does anyone know if the Gage Block physics is now understood?
  21. M

    I An infinity of points on two unequal lines- an intuitive explanation?

    I am familiar with Cantor's work on the concept of infinity and his use of the set theory to explain various types of infinities. Having said that my intuition never seems truly grasp/accept it. Is there a way to train my mind to see this seemingly contradictory situation as a fact? This is...
  22. A.T.

    B Intermediate Axis Theorem - Intuitive Explanation

    A simulation/animation/explanation based on the inertial frame only: The previous videos referenced there are here: See also this post for context on the Veritasium video: https://mathoverflow.net/a/82020 Note to mods: The previous thread is not open anymore so I opened a new one. Feel free...
  23. R

    MATLAB Learn MATLAB Commands: Website for Variable and Function Explanation

    when I had learned matlab, my professor told me a website where everything is explained about MATLAB variable and MATLAB function. After a long time later, I like to use MATLAB for my work. However, I forget the name of the website. Does anybody tell me the helpful website?
  24. jim mcnamara

    A more accessible explanation of Covid-19 R values (how transmissible)

    Understanding R0 Since it seems that most members visit General Discussion, probably this is a good place to post a topic like this, since everyone uses the term. And it would be nice to understand it. A guide from Nature.com meant for more general reading public...
  25. P

    I An Alternative explanation for energy loss due to Eddy currents

    Explanation 1: Eddy currents induced, energy loss due to joule heating. Explanation 2: Eddy currents induced, induced magnetic dipole formed. Energy is lost as work has to be done to overcome the attractive/repulsive force due to the magnet and the induced magnetic dipole from the eddy...
  26. F

    Four fundamental forces of physics -- explanation for dummies please

    I am not sure if this is the correct place to post so I am very sorry if I am posting in the wrong place. I am looking to have the four fundamental forces of physics explained as simply as possible, I have been doing some online research to try to understand it and I am having a hard time...
  27. T

    B Explanation of light speed limit

    To an average person with high school math knowledge how would you explain in a few words why no object could travel faster than the speed of light ? Well it's because...
  28. Earhart

    Intuitive explanation of Fanno Flow

    OK, I have read all the Fanno flow equations, I understand mass and enthalpy conservation for adiabatic flows give the result that friction causes Mach number go to 1... But I cannot think of a physical explanation for the counter-intuitive fact that friction both accelerates and cools the...
  29. P

    Qualitative explanation of Magnetic Braking

    When a magnet moves near a non-magnetic conductor such as copper and aluminium, it experiences a dissipative force called magnetic braking force. I am rather confused by the following explanation of magnetic braking force: The non-magnetic conductor here is the aluminium 'wall' seen on the...
  30. Graeme M

    Simple explanation of greenhouse effect - right or wrong?

    This is a very simple question. I've read a fair bit about the greenhouse effect and how GHGs affect the Earth's surface temperature and I know it can get very complex. But if I boil it down, it seems to be a very simple thing. Am I right to think of it this way? Radiation from the sun reaches...
  31. H

    Confirming Conservation of Kinetic Energy: An Explanation

    D is correct, the reasoning is as follows: 1/2*(M1V1)^2 + 1/2*(M2V2)^2 = 1/2 * (M1 + M2) (Vcm)^2, since V1 =V2 =Vcm KE retained = KE final = 1/2 *M(Vcm)^2 Let me know if reasoning is okay? However, why A isn't correct?
  32. Pipsqueakalchemist

    Engineering Zero Velocity & Acceleration of Point of Contact: Problem Explanation

    For this question the ball is rolling without slipping so that means the velocity of the point of contact is zero. Does that also apply to the acceleration of the point of contact? Because that’s what I assumed and I applied the relative acceleration formula above and use the starting point to...
  33. I

    B Is this explanation of gravity under General Relativity legit?

    This video explains gravity in a way I haven't encountered before (regardless of how irritating the presenter may be). Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that a squirrel falls from a tree to the ground due to gravitational time dilation between its head and its feet. The amount is so...
  34. Helena Wells

    Why does a transistor in saturation act like a short circuit?

    If I have an NPN transistor and let's say we set the base voltage higher than the collector voltage.(Emitter is connected to GND).There are 2 currents flowing in the base because we have two forward biased junctions inside the diode , 1 is the current flowing from emitter to base and 1 is the...
  35. E

    B The physics explanation of ~bendy~ rays

    Take a medium with ##n = n(y)## and define the functional as usual$$T[y] = \int_{\mathcal{C}} \frac{ds}{cn^{-1}} = \frac{1}{c} \int_{x_1}^{x_2} dx \, n(y)\sqrt{1+ y'^2}$$along ##\mathcal{C}## between ##\mathcal{P}_1 \overset{.}{=} (x_1, y_1)## and ##\mathcal{P}_2 \overset{.}{=} (x_2, y_2)##...
  36. E

    Classical explanation for microwave door shielding

    What is the classical explanation for why the microwaves won't pass through the microwave door?
  37. P

    What is the method for calculating the angle Θu in compressible flow?

    Hello good people! I'm studying the compressible flow and the book refers to this example. I can't understand how does it calculate the angle Θu? In the previous example, there is a method to calculate it but it requires all the properties once the fluid is deflected, therefore, that's not the...
  38. Eclair_de_XII

    Is this a valid explanation of why ln() is unbounded near zero?

    So far, I found the derivative of ##f##: \begin{align*} \frac{d}{dx}\,f(x)&=&-\frac{d}{dx}\,\ln(-x)\\ &=&-\left(\frac{1}{(-x)}\right)(-1)\\ &=&-\frac{1}{x} \end{align*} ##f'(x)## is always positive and never zero on its domain. Hence, ##f## does not have a local maximum and is always...
  39. jim mcnamara

    COVID Astra-Zeneca Covid vaccine trial explanation

    Links for some of the science are included - this presentation is based on press releases. The peer reviewed data will be available shortly. Some things to note - results show both 64% and 90% effective,the video explains this one The tests looked for positive Covid tests in volunteers...
  40. The Bill

    Geometry General Ellipsoid Area Formula: Detailed Explanation

    I'm looking for a source that fully derives the complete formula for the surface area of a general (triaxial) ellipsoid. I'd prefer a source that has more than just a full derivation, but also has a fair amount of prose discussion on this topic. Some historical context would be nice, as well...
  41. H

    Explanation of the spectrochemical series of transition metal ions

    The spectrochemical series of metals, under the circumstances that same ligands are used and that it is in an octahedral coordination, is given by: Mn2+ < Ni2+ < Co2+ < Fe2+ < V2+ < Fe3+ < V3+ < Co3+ < Mn4+ < Mo3+ < Rh3+ < Ru3+ < Pd4+ < Ir3+ < Pt4+ When I was skimming through a textbook to...
  42. S

    Video of motorized top - is the explanation correct?

    Is the presenter's explanation correct in all respects? And has anyone seen one of these "in person"?
  43. I

    Explanation for the value of K

    Here is the question: Is it true that the value of K depends on the amounts of reactants and/or products that are mixed together initially? Explain. This is my explanation: The reaction always shifts left or right given any initial reactant and product amounts to attain equilibrium. Thus, the...
  44. Frigus

    Explanation about the concepts of co-dominanace and incomplete dominance

    We were told that incomplete dominance occurs when in heterozygous condition one of the allele is less efficient and another is normal/wild type/unmodified. Co-dominanace occurs when in heterozygous condition both the alleles produce normal functioning enzyme but both the alleles produces...
  45. Abdullah Almosalami

    Intuitive Explanation of Mass-on-Spring Oscillator Frequency

    I just noticed something that is a little bit of a different perspective on a mass-on-spring (horizontal) simple (so undamped) oscillator's frequency and looking for some intuition on it. There are many ways to derive that for a mass on a horizontal frictionless surface on a spring with spring...
  46. Y

    A Quantum finance equation explanation please

    Dear all, Dr. Raymond S. T. Lee in his book on Quantum Finance (page 112), normalizes quantum price return QPR(n) using the following scaling: Normalized QPR(n)=1+0.21*sigma*QPR(n). I don't know of any way of explaining this equation. sigma is the standard deviation of the wave function...
  47. MidgetDwarf

    I Explanation of a Line of a proof in Axler Linear Algebra Done Right 3r

    ∈Was wondering if anyone here could help me with an explanation as to how Axler arrived at a particular step in a proof. These are the relevant definitions listed in the book: Definition of Matrix of a Linear Map, M(T): Suppose ##T∈L(V,W)## and ##v_1,...,v_n## is a basis of V and ##w_1...