What Is an Explanation?


What Is an Explanation?


An explanation is the act of explaining something to another person. There are a number of techniques for explaining a phenomenon. These include logic, probability, covering law, and contrastive nature. However, many explanations are not directly related to any law. Instead, they rely on implicit explanatory understandings that are not always easy to express explicitly.


Logic as an explanation studies the relationships between the different aspects of language and knowledge. It also studies arguments, which generally consist of a premise and a conclusion. In common use, these are known as propositions or sentences. They differ in the internal structure of their parts, which determines whether they are true or false. The truth of a proposition depends on the denotations of its constituents, but there are exceptions to this rule.

The study of logic has its roots in the ancient Greek philosophy. Initially, the word logos meant “word,” but later came to mean “thought,” “explanation,” and “justification.” Logic is now most commonly used to study how arguments are evaluated. Although the exact definition of logic continues to be disputed, many philosophers agree that it is the study of the evaluation of arguments. It also involves the study of fallacious and valid inference.


Probability is a concept that measures the likelihood or chance of events. A mathematical example of probability is how many balls are in a bag. If there are only yellows in the bag, then there is a 33% chance that you will get a green ball. This is called axiomatic probability.

Probability is also used in statistics. This method involves taking a sample of a population and extrapolating the results. This chapter discusses some of the applications of probability, and explores the definition of randomness and probability density. It also discusses the different distribution functions, z-scores, and the Bayes’ theorem.

Covering law

The theory of “covering law” suggests that we can predict future events and outcomes by examining how we make decisions. In doing so, we must recognize both variables and problems. However, “covering law” is limited by our human mind’s capacity to find patterns. Its main criticism is that it doesn’t account for human nature.

Covering law is a kind of argumentation theory. This theory requires that a claim be justified by an appeal to a general proposition or law. The principle behind this theory derives from David Hume’s doctrine that causally related events instantiate regularities of succession. Carl Hempel developed the idea and was a primary proponent of it.

Contrastive nature

There are many ways to explain a phenomenon, and contrastive explanations are among them. They are often used to explain why something happens. But sometimes we want something more than an explanation. In this case, contrastive explanations provide a way to reconcile opposing positions. In this article, we discuss some of the more common forms of contrastive explanations.

Contrastive explanations have a long history in philosophy. Dretske introduced contrastive statements in 1972, and Fraassen and Garfinkel applied them to explanations in 1980. These authors later called their approach contrastivism. Others have also taken this view, including Woodward (2004), Ylikoski (7/07), and Botterill (1998).


Idealization of behavior is the process of bringing idealized factors to bear on the actual causal structure. Idealization is a useful strategy for studying the influence of various factors on behavior and provides a clearer view of the causal structure. It is usually applied to the study of the economic system, where the idealized state is expected to be adequate.

Many idealizations have flourished throughout history, including the idea of infinitely large populations, immortal humans, perfect competition, perfect information, zero transaction costs, and others. While these ideals are desirable in theory, they often raise puzzlement and controversy, because they conflict with known facts.