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Book about explanations: what made the cylinder fall over?

  1. Oct 24, 2006 #1

    DaveC426913

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    Years ago I read a book that explored what it means to people to satisfactorily "explain" something. There were 5 different levels of "doneness". I'm looking for that book.

    In a nutshell, the book explored a lecture hall experiment:
    - a cylinder was placed on a table at the front of the room
    - after five minutes the cylinder fell over
    And that's all.

    The audience was asked to give an explanation as to what happened.

    The key to the experiment was to analyze the responses and categorize them in terms of the type of answer. Answers seemed to group themselves into five categories - i.e. five types of people who were satsified with the answer they provided.

    Category 1 grouped audience members whose answers merely described what happened - a sort of acceptance that how it happened was unnecessary i.e. "The cylinder fell over."

    All the way up to Category 5, grouping audience members who gave explicit, detailed explanations - and even diagrams of internal mechanisms - attempting to theorize exactly how the cylinder fell over.

    It was irrelevant what the answers were, or whether they were right or not, all that mattered was the tendency of people to decide for themselves what is considered a satisfactory answer to a problem.


    Anyway, does anyone recognize this book, and know where I might find it?

    (Please move thread to appropriate forum as needed)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2006 #2

    loseyourname

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    This will probably do best in GD, where more people will see it. Never heard of this book myself.
     
  4. Oct 25, 2006 #3
    I haven't found the book you want, but some googling lead to the following, strange, falling cylinder story:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/yor/yor03.htm
     
  5. Oct 25, 2006 #4

    DaveC426913

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    Um OK. Thanks.

    What my question really needed in order to get some constructive response is the injection of a healthy dose of woo wooism...:grumpy:
     
  6. Oct 25, 2006 #5

    turbo

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    Are you talking about "God's Debris" by Scott Adams?
     
  7. Oct 26, 2006 #6

    DaveC426913

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    No!

    This is a non-fiction book, exploring reasoning and problem-solving.
     
  8. Oct 27, 2006 #7
    What you need is someone who is familiar with the book you're talking about.

    I don't know what "woo wooism" is, but I thought it was extremely odd, and worth mentioning, that a falling cylinder, of all things, was the springboard for similar speculative explanations in a completely different setting.

    Anyway, no one seems to recognize the book from the one thing you mentioned. Do you recall anything else about it that might jog someone's memory? About when was it written? Any other points the book made people might recognize?
     
  9. Oct 28, 2006 #8

    DaveC426913

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    Damn. Response lost in cyberspace.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2006 #9

    Office_Shredder

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  11. Oct 29, 2006 #10

    DaveC426913

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    But what terms did you search for?
     
  12. Oct 29, 2006 #11
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