The Theory of Fact

“The problem with science is that it is full of scientists” MD

These definitions may seem basic but I want to explore a few concepts that we may take for granted. An un-clarafication of the pre-clarified. Why is this important? Well I hope someone can tell me.

When I think of these concepts I want to consider how I can better come to a disambiguation between information and knowledge…. or perhaps for the purpose of this post to ambiguate them.

Lets see if these definitions compare to our common sense (naïve sense) experience. If I make a mistake let me know.

Fact: Dictionary.com     wiki

1. something that actually exists; reality; truth

What actually exists? (to be) Reality? (as it is) Truth? (is)

The question of what these things are, are not fully known. Notice I said the question and not the answer is not fully known. This is because in the fields of ontology, epistemology, metaphysics of which there are volumes upon volumes of debate on these three definitions. After thousands of years even in modern times with all our scientific advancement the greatest minds known to man can’t agree on what these things are. A kind of reason could follow that if the answer isn’t known then the question may not be known.

I should include natural science in contrast to my statement but for the purpose of this post it needs to be clear that the scientific method assumes (accept or without proof) that the three items here are defined. Our lay interpretation of what science is inhibits our full understanding of what science means to be. Science is derived from one theory on how to obtain knowledge. A simple rebuttal to this is that it only provides information but not the means of interpreting it correctly for the purpose of obtaining true knowledge. Further more science admits this which is why it has to develop theory. Science alone is not the end all be all of understanding.

An important concept here to understand is that of what is called common sense (naïve realism) which I want to break down into too parts. The perception of matter or the material world and the perception as it relates to mind and bias to information. Iv heard it referred to as The a listening for in the psychology of communication (may be dated, can’t find reference) which is the bias attention given to information that is being received. One of the most predominant barriers to active listing, in which listening and hearing are not the same thing. Hearing  is the noise from waves that hit the eardrum which is converted into neurological information and interpreted in by the brain. Listening would be in controlling the brains interpretation through conscious effort to receive the information as it is, which is still an impediment to receiving the full message. Let alone the complications of subjectively interpreting with experience that may not be available.

The first part is the way in which we see the world around us. Does an apple exist whether or not I’m looking at it? The first assumption is yes. On the first observation (looking at it) I have to ask, can I know its actual state of existence by my sensory observations (empirical evidence.) If I assume that my perception is flawless or at least sufficient then yes. Modern neuroscience has many arguments that even the anti-realists of old would love. If I consider what I see, touch, feel, etc. are noting more than chemical and electrical signals then I am aware that I experience nothing as it is but only how I interpret it. If nothing exists outside of the mind than can I really say that any thing exists at all? So if I don’t know that the apple exists outside of my concept of it how do I know what it is with out my concept? There is strong empirical evidence that I only perceive a very small part of what is actually there. Watching Brain Games can be enlightening for a simple laymen like myself.

The second part of this is my experience and bias which I called The a listening for. If I have never seen a nectarine and was handed one I may very well assume/believe and fight to the death that it was an apple. To make my point to anyone that may say I’m being unreasonable/illogical/semantic/delusional etc. I Googled for an example figuring there was probably one. Our misinterpretation of reality and what we hold so dear as truth and real and fact are more common than what want to consider. After all what am I without faith or belief in something. I will make anything true that I want to be and will refuse to hear anything different. I bought an apple. Can we say that I was A listening for something to make and validate my point?

Despite the proof of possibility that iv shown I still have to admit by my own argument that I may be wrong or if I’m accidentally right then I’m right for the wrong reasons.

2. something known to exist or to have happened

Has man walked on the moon? If so how can there be people who still don’t believe it? Can you prove to me that we did? Can you prove to me that we didn’t? As a challenge for home work, disprove your self. If you believe that we did then challenge your thinking and try to convince your self that we didn’t and vice versa. I have a high degree of certainty (if you didn’t actually walk on the moon your self) that you will come to the best answer possible which is I don’t know.

The important distinction here is that I cannot call any of these proposals a FACT. What I can call it is consensus fact. A best guess based on what ever world view, philosophy, paradigm, theory, point of view etc. that we commonly agree on. Notice that from your own experience that two or more persons/groups can hold different sets of Facts.

Is it a fact that the Tyrannosaurus Rex is extinct? What about the Pygmy Tarsier, Okapi, Dwarf Cloud Rat, Coelacanth? The last four examples were thought and declared extinct by paleontologists and zoologists, the experts in the field. There are many animals that are being rediscovered that were thought to be extinct frequently. So is it a fact or a guess? The city of Troy was once thought to be a fictitious city but now we think we’ve found it. Homers story was just a story and not to believed. The indigenous people of Madagascar told stories of the Elephant Bird and wasn’t believed because they were not scientific people and oral tradition was not to be believed. Now we have empirical evidence that oral tradition can be even more accurate in detail than written history.

Why do we have cryptozoology and ufology if FACT can be determined even if we havent seen it for our selves?

Why do some people say that America was founded on Christian principles and other say otherwise? Don’t we all have access to the same history?

3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true

You and I are the two smartest people in the world. We live in the year 360 BCE. The village idiot comes to us and says “why is the world flat?” What is our answer? I worded it WHY instead of IS because I wanted to illustrate that what ever our answer was (that we held as true) was based on a FACT (that we also knew as true.) My definition for -paradigm- is an unquestioned truth.

“The squirrels are trying to get my nuts”- crazy guy from Patch Adams. If I experience or observe it then it must be true right? To contradict my self, neurologists have looked at a “healthy-normal” persons brain who was afraid of spiders then threw spiders on him. Then they looked at a “crazy” persons brain that claimed he had spiders on him that no one else could see. As it turns out the same basic process is going on in the brain………… No observable difference between the two. Hummm…. so maybe then yes? If I experience or observe something it is true, right? If I claim to be a logical and rational empiricist then I have to say yes don’t I? If I think this way the only way to measure my sense of reality is to compare it to the experience and observations as others which we called consensus reality.

Is it a Fact that we are standing on the ground? (assuming we are on our feet) Maybe, but couldn’t I also say that we are standing on our shoes that are on the ground? What if I said no, neither is true but instead we are falling toward the center of the earth and the surface of the earth is pushing up on us? In my opinion that I will call Fact, I will say the latter is true and the others are false. I’ll also get Newton and Einstein involved to back up my bias.

4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened

If I go on here ill just be beating the horse even deader.

5. Law. . Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence.

question of fact- a question concerning the reality of an alleged event or circumstance in a trial by jury, usually determined by the jury

question of law- a question concerning a rule or the legal effect or consequence of an event or circumstance, usually determined by a court or judge

Ethics also deals with the question of truth. I think the legal definition defeats my purpose here. Not sure how I can argue against it. After all haven’t I been saying all along that we are a jury so to speak, in our interpretation of what a Fact is? A Fact is not real. A Fact is what I or we agree it is.

Perhaps all I can do is unlearn what I have learned and start over with a clear mind. Open and willing to learn. To search for true knowledge. I don’t know might, just might be the best place to start.

Theory: Dictionary.com     wiki

1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.

3. Mathematics . a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles: conflicting theories of how children best learn to read.

Conclusion

If a theory is not a fact but a basis of explaining factual observations and if we cannot determine what a fact is, what does that make a theory?

What is a theory that is based on a theory?

How many assumptions must be made in order to make a theory?

How do we know the difference between assumption and fact?

Does a theory have hope if our facts are actually assumption?

One of the best leaning methods iv discovered, after admitting that I know nothing, is internal rhetoric or debate. I examine what my opinions are then I pretend that I believe the opposite and build and argument for it. When I defeat my self I then reverse my effort until I can defeat the former victor.

If I can be understood here, some times information that isn’t held with opinion can be a small kind of knowledge.

Any way hope you enjoyed and this was helpful. If you take me up on my suggestion be careful where you do it cuz people will think you have split personality disorder and have you committed.

 “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”-Warren Buffett

This is Three small quotes I very much enjoy on the subject

🙂 Yes we and all the me s love comments 🙂

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About TheEpistemologist

If I don't know it I want to. If I haven't been there I want to go there. If I haven't tasted it I want to taste it. Life, An adventurous journey I wil take to the end.
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