From analysis to explanation

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Chasw
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From analysis to explanation

Post by Chasw » August 28th, 2017, 10:57 am

Analytic philosphers have worked hard to establish a basis for claims based on observable phenomena, a modern day substitute for The Given. In doing so, they reveal (for me) an interesting insight into the scientific method and the way hypotheses are normally, perhaps properly, constructed.

It all starts with a human observing data while scanning, and noticing a possible pattern; either seeing similarity to remembered pattern, or seeing a pattern in abstraction, e.g., repeating numbers or relations, Planck’s quanta. This leads the thinker to look closer and raise questions, the essence of curiosity. Which, under the right circumstances, leads to a series of thought-steps to produce a serious scientific hypotheses.

My recent readings have helped me formulate a simple reference model of the inner episodes one experiences when crafting a serious hypotheses. The model amounts to a linguistic framework containing the following key terms. Obviously, this inductive thought process starts with Analysis and ends with Explanation, but actual order of the other components, especially description, is mixed and repeated.

• Analysis – Starts with general observation, leading to closer examination to make sense of selected phenomena, curiosity at work
• Description – entails the use of language, with emphasis on linguistic frameworks specific to the phenomena being examined
• Classification – immediately upon detailed description, the mind begins searching for affinities among observed things or phenomena, an ontological capability we instinctively use to rule out spurious (non-extant) data and further decompose the class of extant entities
• Abstraction – In order to satisfy the questions that arise, the thinker must measure, find relationships, etc. This ability to think in the abstract is innate in humans, acquired through evolution.
• Explanation – The end result, where the thinker has seen enough and examined in enough detail, to compose a plausible explanation of what the original observation reports mean, what is going on dynamically, viz., a testable hypothesis.

In daily life and on TV news, away from scientific endeavors, we frequently hear people use the terms analysis and explanation to reinforce a point, state a proposition. It helps if the listeners are armed with a deeper understanding of what those terms mean and their relation to each other.

What do you think? - CW
The central question of human existence is not why we are here, but rather why we behave the way we do - http://onhumanaffairs.blogspot.com/

Spectrum
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Re: From analysis to explanation

Post by Spectrum » August 28th, 2017, 9:56 pm

Analysis is one of the most critical step/process in acquiring knowledge and problem-solving techniques.

However Analytic Philosophy is NOT analysis per se.
As a historical development, analytical philosophy refers to certain developments in early 20th-century philosophy that were the historical antecedents of the current practice. Central figures in this historical development are Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, and the logical positivists. In this more specific sense, analytic philosophy is identified with specific philosophical traits (many of which are rejected by many contemporary analytic philosophers), such as:
  • The logical-positivist principle that there are not any specifically philosophical facts and that the object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts.
    ...
    ...

Analytic philosophy is often understood in contrast to other philosophical traditions, most notably continental philosophies such as existentialism and phenomenology, and also Thomism and Marxism.
All other non-Analytic-Philosophy also use analysis but they don't claim to be Analytic-Philosophers.

My point is, we must idolized the analytical process but do not fall prey to idea that Analytical Philosophy is the sole representation of analysis per se. One need to understand the philosophical approaches of both Analytic and Non-Analytic philosophies.

Note the thread I raised, "Realism" as philosophical views is not necessary the most realistic.
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Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Chasw
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Re: From analysis to explanation

Post by Chasw » September 2nd, 2017, 7:37 pm

No worries, Spectrum. I’m not confused at all about Analytic Philosophy being the same as, or even mostly about, analysis per se.

Instead, my interest in the process relationship between analysis and explanation grew out of some passing comments in Sellar’s Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind (sect 20) about dispositional analysis; and similar passing comments in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty (para 189) mentioning “At some point one must pass from explanation to mere description”. The discussion surrounding these two thoughts piqued my interest and after some reflection, I decided to share my proposition here in our Epistemology/Metaphysics forum.

BTW, my take on Analytic Philosophy (Empiricism, Positivism, Critical Realism, et al) is that it was a reaction to the scientific breakthroughs of 1905 and was in full swing by the 1920s with the Vienna Circle and Carnap’s Logical Structure of the World. Starting with the idea that philosophy must be based on science and mathematics, it quickly became a detailed analysis of the role of language in all aspects of human life, including philosophy. Consider the ongoing remnant called Ordinary Language philosophy. My recent survey of analytic philosophy has given me a new and improved appreciation of the importance of language in philosophy and a deeper understanding for how it is used in ordinary discourse, many aspects of which are poorly understood by the average person. - CW
The central question of human existence is not why we are here, but rather why we behave the way we do - http://onhumanaffairs.blogspot.com/

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