Naming isn’t explaining
Published by: Peter

Naming isn’t explaining! In the case of naming a child it’s linking a ‘sound pattern’ to the newborn. In those cultures where naming is delayed until the infants’‘character’ becomes apparent, naming is synonymous with placing the infant in the same ‘sound pattern’ category as others with the same supposed ‘character’.

Neither is labelling, diagnosing or identifying as …! explaining.

The word ‘explanation’ needs to be looked at from two perspectives: the person receiving and the person offering an explanation.

From the receiver’s point of view they’ll accept something as an explanation if they understand and agree with it. But as the example “If you’re failing math, you’d better come up with a good explanation to give to your parents.” shows, the answer “Because I’m dyscalculic [/ autistic / have ADHD]” does nothing other than substitute a single word or phrase for a slightly longer description of behaviour.

(An excellent account of the different meanings of explanation can be found at

Which raises the question: what constitutes an explanation in the sciences? In general an explanation of some phenomena or other involves a description of a process, mechanism or structure relating parts to wholes.

An example from someone offereing an explanation: ‘ADHD’ behaviour is an epiphenomenon, resulting from a mis-match between the writing hand (generally but not exclusively the right hand) and the wright hand, i.e. the hand better able to execute novel complex manipulo-spatial tasks with seemingly effortless ease. This can be known as a left-right-mismatch.


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