Argument vs Explanation
If you are trying to reason with someone, to put your point of view across, you obviously present statements in the form of arguments and explanations. Both are similar to each other and people employ both without knowing their differences. When you have been caught doing something wrong in the class, your teacher may demand an explanation. What you tell is an argument in support of your defense. However, the difference between an argument and explanation is not that simple always. This article attempts to articulate a few differences to enable people to make judicious use of either of the two forms of reasoning.
If you ask someone what an explanation is, he would say that whenever your behavior is such that it causes problems for others, you owe and explanation. Explanation seems logical and natural and is helpful in deriving conclusions. Even people charged with criminal acts are given a chance to give an explanation in an attempt to justify their act or behavior as this makes a jury more sympathetic towards them. When you are asked why you did what you did, you have to present a compelling reason for your act, which classifies as an explanation. You cannot counter and say you did not because that would tantamount to an argument.
Natural phenomenons need explanation and not argument. This is because explanation has the potential to answer the phenomenon. If a kid sees lightening up in the skies and asks his dad about it, he probably is interested in its explanation. An explanation has the essential feature of removal of a problem. It solves a problem by providing new information and facts.
An argument is a way of reasoning that is the favorite tool of lawyers as they try to prove that their client is innocent. Argument for lawyers is presenting a statement in defense of an unacceptable behavior. It is possible to argue both in favor as well as against a point of view. Argument is mainly used to persuade a person to see a point of view by reasoning through evidence. Disagreement is an integral part of argument that contains evidence or a series of statements. Diplomats approach negotiation table with arguments in hands to be prepared while reasoning with the counterpart.
If you are an entrepreneur trying to secure a loan from a bank, you counter loan manager’s doubts by presenting various arguments. This has the effect of making your business look like a real profitable one.
What is the difference between Argument and Explanation?
• Explanation and argument are two distinct forms of reasoning put forward in support of a point of view
• Explanation is mostly factual and contains definitive statements whereas argument is persuasive in nature
• Arguments are used very commonly by lawyers in defense of their clients’ innocence.
• Explanations provide the why and how of a phenomenon while arguments try to persuade to take another person to a conclusion