According to Carnap, explication can be regarded as a scientific process which transforms and replaces "an inexact prescientific concept" (which he calls the explicandum), with a "new exact concept" (which he calls the explicatum). A thesis which describes and explains the new explicit knowledge is usually called an "Explication".
Others' reviews of Carnap's argument offer additional insights about the nature of explication. In particular, Bonolio's paper (2003) "Kant’s Explication and Carnap’s Explication: The Redde Rationem", and Maher's (2007) "Explication defended", add weight to the argument that explication is an appropriate methodology for formal philosophy.
On this argument, new explicit knowledge is therefore contingent and context specific. New explicit knowledge is also informed by the explicant's competence in dealing with the explication process, plus an ethical concern that the outcomes (i.e. the new explicit knowledge) can be considered to be an improvement and "true" (i.e. not yet disaffirmed). (cf. Harrison, 2006).
Explication is often associated with its use in literary criticism, specifically explication de texte, where additional understandings and meanings are derived from the "close reading" of a poem, novel or play.
In this process explication often involves a line-by-line or episode-by-episode commentary on what is going on in a text. While initially this might seem reasonably innocuous, explication de texte, and explication per se, is an interpretative process where the resulting new knowledge, new insights or new meanings, are open to subsequent debate and disaffirmation by others.
Along with its use in literary criticism, other disciplines and professions employ the idea and practice of explication, such as those summarized in The Scratchpad Wikia - art of explication In addition On Explicationis devoted to the idea and practice of explication.
Carnap, R. (1950). Logical foundations of probability, University of Chicago Press, Illinois.
Franklin, P. et al (2006). "Conjectures on explication. Explication as a philosophical enterprise", On explication
Harrison, S.E. (2006). "Explication without words - A composer's view", Organisations and People, August, Vol.13 (3), pp. 59-63.
Maher, P. (2007) "Explication defended", Studia Logica, Volume 86, Number 2, July 2007, pp. 331-341.