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Sometimes I Wonder If You Read What I Write!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on December 15, 2004 18:29:21 UTC

Harv, the single most important aspect of an explanation is what is understood by the explainee. The value of the explanation to the explainer is moot as he is in total control of his intentions: i.e., I make the assumption that the explainer is unaware of any inconsistencies in that explanation. The explainee on the other hand has the problem of interpreting the meanings intended by the explainer and must always include the possibility that he has misunderstood something (to do otherwise is to be incapable of thinking).

As an aside, in my head, every experiment I perform is a question asked of the universe regarding my understanding of reality: the universe is the explainer and I am the explainee. Anytime my expectations concerning the result are wrong, I presume I have misunderstood something.

One does not "pinpoint" within a model that it is a model of something; one defines what is to be modeled and then fulfills the definition! I specifically defined an explanation to be a method of obtaining expectations from given known information. I then laid out a detailed exact specific method of obtaining expectations from any given "known information". The procedure fulfills the definition of an explanation (that qualifies it as an explanation) without making any constraints on the nature of the information (that makes it totally general).

I think you are misunderstanding the central thrust here. I am putting forth a general model of any explanation. That is a rather broad all encompassing concept. It seems to me that any rational person would find it quite astounding to discover that all explanations have anything at all in common across the board. I have shown that there always exists an interpretation of the meanings of the elements being explained which requires those elements to obey a specific relationship (my fundamental equation).

Now, the fact that any explanation (when taken in its entirety, that is including all information needed to define everything) can be interpreted in such a way that the fundamental elements of which that explanation is constructed must obey that equation doesn't actually tell us anything useful in explaining things. All it really does is to stop us from going down unproductive paths.

Finally, with regard to question 11, remember, I am modeling "all" explanations as understood by the explainee, including changes in that understanding as more information is acquired. Certainly there exists a large number of exchanges between individuals where the presumed explanation of the exchange by one of the parties is that "the other party is rude". In some cases, no flaw in the resultant expectations is ever discovered while, in others, further exchanges result is an alteration of the understood explanation.

As I said earlier, I define an explanation to be a method of obtaining expectations from given known information. That definition opens a lot of doors as to what qualifies as an explanation. However, if you wish to argue with my definition, it behooves you to point out an explanation which does not provide expectations or something which provides a method of obtaining expectations which can not be seen as an explanation of those expectations.

I often think you try to put more into what I am saying than I am saying. What I am saying is that all explanations can be interpreted in such a manner that my fundamental equation is absolutely valid. And that such an interpretation will yield expectations totally in line with what is known.

Have fun -- Dick

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