Draft talk:Fact

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Your first sentence[edit]

"A fact is a statement that is indisputable": this sentence seems absolutist, and contrary to the scepticism and fallibilism that is inherent to science (and ought to continue to be inherent). Of course, its obvious that certain "facts" e.g. mathematical or logical "facts" appear indisputable, but in general, facts are not: indisputable, incorrigible, or unrevivable, etc. All facts are subject to revision in the light of further experience. Furthermore, mathematics and logic are not factual, at least not in any direct way; this is because, 'facts' are items in the real world that can be falsified, confirmed, or verified but never proven. Leucippus 15:46, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment, I fixed the article accordingly. Moreover, I would be grateful if you could help me finish the article. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 16:36, 8 February 2021 (UTC)
No problem, I'm happy to provide input. I think that this is certainly a worthy article to add. When you say "I fixed the article accordingly", I interpret this, (based on the diff of your edit) as you having reasonably considered my comment, and edited your original comment where you thought it (a) ought to be changed; and (b) so as to harmonise our agreement, whilst simultaneously defending your own beliefs. Thus, I interpret you as having taken on board my points about "scepticism and fallibilism", when you add "A fact is a statement based on knowledge or information that is known to be true, since you have added the appropriate context i.e. knowledge or information that may imply - to the reader - scepticism and fallibilism; since knowledge and truth are subject to: doubt and revisability. Furthermore, under my interpretation, you have assimilated my point about "absolutism" i.e. when you say "Depending on the topic at hand the fact is indisputable", this edit of yours has the additional bonus of 'saving the appearances', when it comes to mathematics and logic. In other words, I don't interpret you as having just accepted my points uncritically.
However, despite my interpretation, I would still hope, that you aren't just accepting my points uncritically and consequently modifying your own positions uncritically; as this was an initial fear of mine; an uncharitable interpretation on my part. Despite this, I do think this "uncharitable interpretation" (of your views) is less likely and would reflect more my own errors than yours.
Thus when I debate your "views" I shall be challenging them under my original interpretation, not my uncharitable one. Firstly, I think that you ought to remove 'information' from the sentence, after all, information on its own has not yet become knowledge, and when we speak about facts we are speaking about empirical knowledge. Secondly, I don't think that your statements, sic., "knowledge or information" and "known to be true" - stress enough - the potential for revisability pending future inquiry (e.g. Newtonian Mechanics) or stress enough, the doubt about 'certainty' when it comes to facts. Thirdly, I disagree with your relative construal of "indisputability", you must state that only mathematics and logic make claims that are prima-facie indisputable, since (1) mathematics and logic are: not factual domains i.e. numbers are not out there in the spatio-temporal universe, you cannot observe them! and (2) I disagree, both in principle and in practice, with your clinging, to this notion of 'indisputability' in relation to facts, for this would naturally revoke fallibilism i.e. the notion that any fact could be false, furthermore it presupposes that we humans could attain absolute certainty so as to make the pronouncement of "that's indisputable". The burden of proof when it comes to assertions of 'indisputability' lies with the defenders of the term, yourself included. My assertion pace you is that facts are instances of empirical knowledge, which are by definition about the physical universe.
Finally, I shall leave you with this quote, which, in the context of my argument, illuminates the status of 'facts' quite elegantly.
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality
—Albert Einstein
P.S. Sorry about the obtuse bold font...I only added it due to the density of my text, as I feared it was getting too convoluted.Leucippus 18:41, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

References[edit]

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Phil: Facts provides a detailed account of facts. More importantly, it provides a good reference source for further research. I'm currently reading it myself to see if there's anything that can be added to the draft. LeucippusTalk 15:16, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

Explication vs Explanation[edit]

This draft, like all articles, will include explanations of the term 'fact', but I believe, we should also include in our articles, the notion of an 'explication'. An explication aims to improve a vague concept such as 'fact' (called the explicandum) by: clarifying it, making it more precise, or making it more suitable for an area where the concept is applied; the end result is called the explicatum. Now, the point of an explication is not to eliminate the vague explicandum, since the explicandum still retains its usefulness in certain contexts e.g. an explicatum is to an explicandum, what a microtome is to a kitchen knife: the microtome is an improvement on the kitchen knife, but that is not to say, that the kitchen knife is no longer useful, in certain contexts e.g. when cooking. For instance, an explication of the explicandum 'Fact' would seek to improve it, making it more suitable for science, perhaps. Explication is akin to engineering better concepts for our practical purposes. LeucippusTalk 20:45, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

Problems with the "Facts vs Concepts" section[edit]

@MarioSuperstar77 R.e. your "tomato example": when you talk about the difficulties of defining fruits and vegetables, you are talking in a metalanguage (ML) about the object language (L), wherein one is mentioning words that are used in the object language.

  1. Example of mentioning: 'tomato' is a word in ML and the word 'tomato' refers to a fruit in L.
  2. Example of use: tomatoes are not vegetables they are fruits.
  • In the object-language the sentence 'tomatoes are not vegetables they are fruits' is formal: it is formed according to the rules of the grammar.
  • It also has content, the words: 'tomatoes', 'vegetables', and 'fruits', all refer to objects in the world. The facts that pertain to these "objects" are about states of affairs in the world e.g., the situations where you would find tomatoes, how they grow, their spatial dimensions etc.
  • These "states of affairs" are not dependent on language for their existence. The change in definition of what a tomato is - is a matter pertaining to knowledge and belief - not facts.
  • In conclusion, I believe that you have violated the use/mention distinction, which has led to your confusing talk about language for talk about objects, and consequently, you believe that facts are "bound" up with language constructs. LeucippusTalk 16:55, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
It starts becoming too complicated for me, I almost want you to finish this draft in my stead. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 20:03, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
tomatoes are veg. they are fruits too. they are both. AMassiveGay (talk) 17:24, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
in the us, pizza is veg too AMassiveGay (talk) 17:26, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
Hence they are personal facts bound to societal norms hereafter known as a social construct. Only in the us are Pizza a vegetable from that perspective, Pizza is not a vegetable where I live. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 20:03, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
it is is the us. seriously AMassiveGay (talk) 20:07, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
@MarioSuperstar77 Tbh mate, there's a lot of pruning to be done with the article, especially some of my stuff. Once it gets nearer to mainspace stage, not only do we need references, but the article could benefit from simplification, and questioning what form would be best for the website. LeucippusTalk 20:16, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
yeah but tomatoes were always either a vegetable or a fruit, they can't be both! What has changed is our belief, not the facts, which are true once and for all. LeucippusTalk 20:21, 21 February 2021 (UTC)