Argument - Explanations and Arguments

Explanations and Arguments

While arguments attempt to show that something is, will be, or should be the case, explanations try to show why or how something is or will be. If Fred and Joe address the issue of whether or not Fred's cat has fleas, Joe may state: "Fred, your cat has fleas. Observe the cat is scratching right now." Joe has made an argument that the cat has fleas. However, if Fred and Joe agree on the fact that the cat has fleas, they may further question why this is so and put forth an explanation: "The reason the cat has fleas is that the weather has been damp." The difference is that the attempt is not to settle whether or not some claim is true, it is to show why it is true.

Arguments and explanations largely resemble each other in rhetorical use. This is the cause of much difficulty in thinking critically about claims. There are several reasons for this difficulty.

  • People often are not themselves clear on whether they are arguing for or explaining something.
  • The same types of words and phrases are used in presenting explanations and arguments.
  • The terms 'explain' or 'explanation,' et cetera are frequently used in arguments.
  • Explanations are often used within arguments and presented so as to serve as arguments.

Explanations and arguments are often studied in the field of Information Systems to help explain user acceptance of knowledge-based systems. Certain argument types may fit better with personality traits to enhance acceptance by individuals.

Read more about this topic:  Argument

Other articles related to "explanations and arguments, arguments, explanations, argument, explanation":

Explanations and Arguments
... While arguments attempt to show that something is, will be, or should be the case, explanations try to show why or how something is or will be ... Observe the cat is scratching right now." Joe has made an argument that the cat has fleas ... the cat has fleas, they may further question why this is so and put forth an explanation "The reason the cat has fleas is that the weather has been damp." The ...

Famous quotes containing the words explanations and, arguments and/or explanations:

    Financiers are great mythomaniacs, their explanations and superstitions are those of primitive men; the world is a jungle to them. They perceive acutely that they are at the dawn of economic history.
    Christina Stead (1902–1983)

    It has often been argued that absolute scepticism is self-contradictory; but this is a mistake: and even if it were not so, it would be no argument against the absolute sceptic, inasmuch as he does not admit that no contradictory propositions are true. Indeed, it would be impossible to move such a man, for his scepticism consists in considering every argument and never deciding upon its validity; he would, therefore, act in this way in reference to the arguments brought against him.
    Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914)

    In the nineteenth century ... explanations of who and what women were focused primarily on reproductive events—marriage, children, the empty nest, menopause. You could explain what was happening in a woman’s life, it was believed, if you knew where she was in this reproductive cycle.
    Grace Baruch (20th century)