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The art of explication


This mini-wiki invites users to contribute ideas and experiences relating to the idea and practice of explication.

About explication

The idea and process of explication is, perhaps, most commonly associated with an analysis and discusson of the written words. In this practice, the purpose of explication is to understand better what the writer is writing about... to 'read between the lines' and to uncover what is implicit in the text.

Uncovering the implicit

Explication is a process which is designed to uncover the implicit with the intention of revealing something which is more explicit.
The idea of explication is often explained by using the metaphor of a flower bud. Bakeruses this metaphor when he writes:
"If we want a more specific concrete image still to remind us of all this, we can think of a bud on a stem as an example of something that is mostly ‘implicit’: only the outer leaf is ‘explicit.’ When the bud blossoms, it performs a kind of ‘self-explication.’ If we want to see what's inside before this comes about, our ‘explication’ of it would have to take the form of dissection."
Explication is also an outcome or product of the explication process. As a product, explication is expressed in different media, in the arts (such as movies, text and music) and in the sciences (see below, for instance, Carnap's expression of explication). An anthology of writing on explication was published in Organisations and People, Autumn 2006.

Explication de texte

Explication de texte is one of several "meanings in use" of the term "explication". It is unclear why this particular adoption of the word "explication" tends to be privileged over others, but it is possible to speculate that the etymology of the verb and the noun "explicate" prompts further linguistic analysis, and provides a natural intellectual base for the idea and use of the word explication.

Hyperlinks dealing with explication de texte

There are some good websites that deal with explication de texte, and among these, Baker's webpage "Critical concepts: Explication versus analysis", is arguably the most thorough and convincing [1].

Other interpretations and meanings

The idea and practice of explication is not, however, expressed only within literary cricism. Rather, from a search of the internet, it is clear that the term "explication" is used widely among different communities and within different (professional and scholarly) disciplines. The next subsections will deal briefly with each of these.

Explication as a scientific process

Arising from Carnap's work (Logical foundations of probability), explication can be regarded as a scientific process which which transforms and replaces "an inexact prescientific concept" (which he calls the explicandum), with a "new exact concept" (which he calls the explicatum).

Explication in psychotherapy

In psychotherapy, explication is involved with helping clients to unfold and understand the meaning structures which determine their attitudes and behaviours. In this context, Sachse (nd) writes,
“A clarification or explication process requires a client to face the relevant parts of his meaning structures by putting forward relevant questions. These questions first aim at describing a problem, but later aim at clarifying the client's feelings and the felt meanings determined by aspects of the problem. Eventually, these questions aim at explication of the problem-determined meaning structures.”

Heuristic research

The idea and practice of explication is also involved in heuristic research, and in particular, is associated with a research model published in 1990 by Moustakas in his book Heuristic Research: Design, Methodology, and Applications.

More on this subject soon...

Explication as a philosophical enterprise

Explication can also be regarded as philosophical enterprise; an enterprise which is concerned with the discovery of new explicit knowledge derived from the explication of that which was previously regarded and treated as being implicit.
This idea is glimpsed in Carnap's work (see above) and is reflected online in Lectures on Philosophical Hermeneutics.
In a long piece of writing on the web, Franklin et al have also argued to the idea of explication as a philosophical enterprise, and these arguments can be found at And in January 2007, the Journal of Workplace Learning (Vol. 19 (1) pp. 45-54),published "Explication: working to discover and share new knowledge from prior experience", by Peter Franklin.

Experiences of explication

From our glimpses of explication practised by different professions and disciplines, it is clear that explication treats the implicit so as to reveal greater insight, knowledge and understanding.

Sharing your experience of explication

In this part of our wiki we welcome hearing about other people's experiences with explication. To add to this wiki, either you can add content here, or alternatively, you can share your experiences and insights on a special related and linked page by clicking here.

Concluding ideas, issues and remarks

More soon

Additional pages

In addition to this page on the Art of explication, there are others drafted or titled which you can find by clicking on "all pages" in the box which appears at the top right side of this page...

These page include these two:

APEL; Explication and autobiography (soon).


Aldridge, A. O. (1968). Book review of Explication de Texte edited by by Jean Sareil. The review was published in The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 52, No. 4. (Apr., 1968), pp. 239-240.

Carnap, R. (1950). Logical foundations of probability, University of Chicago Press, Illinois.

MacKenzie, B. and Franklin, P. (eds) (2006). Explication, Organisations and People, Vol.13(1), pp.1-68.

Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and applications. Newbury park, California: Sage Publications, Inc. Additional Hyperlinks

On explication

Additional hyperlinks will be added in this section.