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You Are Not Being Clear!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on December 17, 2004 04:16:55 UTC

You are being quite unclear (a major problem in communication via English; or by any other common modern language for that matter). I said earlier, I define an explanation to be a method of obtaining expectations from given known information. It is first and foremost "a method". You are using an adjective which pertains to communication, not to a method. That is because we regularly think in terms of communicating explanations, not in terms of explanations themselves.

Not that it is at all significant in this discussion but rather because, even viewing the subject from the perspective of communication your comment is still unclear. What are you referring to by this identifier "a lie"? Are you referring to the explainer's perspective: i.e., the explainer knows he is intentionally lying? Or, are you referring to the explainee perspective: i.e., that the explainee's current explanation of the circumstance is that the explainer is lying? These are profoundly different circumstances and their differences can not be treated lightly.

But back to the issue of modeling an explanation: the reason I model entirely from the explainee's perspective is that perfect communication is absolutely impossible to achieve (as one must always include the possibility that they have misunderstood some element/elements of the communication). Furthermore, explainer's beliefs are really immaterial anyway. What the explainer is providing is information and there is no way to know (a-priori) that it is or is not an explanation or whether the explainer is or is not aware of inconsistencies in his communications.

The explainee has no option except to work with the information he is given. His object is to explain that information. If his best explanation of that information is that the source is not trustworthy (the explainer is lying) than certainly that is an explanation.

Harv, I think you are bright enough to have thought these issues out for yourself and really don't understand the intention of your questions.


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