The fact of the matter is that when getting right down to the facts of the matter, facts themselves can be loaded with a multitude of facts. The fact
is there are many facts about facts. In fact, did you know that the etymology
of the word
fact, tells us it is derived from the Latin word factum
. That's a fact! Interestingly, the etymology site I just linked mysteriously hints
that in the 1530's, the word fact was used to denote "evil doings", but that it - of course - generally meant an event or occurrence. The fact
that that etymology site painted facts as being "evil doings" is kind of sinister, but when you consider the fact that facts come in different
degrees, you being to understand the subtle nuances of fact.
In fact; there are several different kinds of facts. In philosophy, facts are epistemological
Well, there are logic facts, of course, and other reasonable facts of philosophy, but what becomes apparent early on is that there is more to a fact
than just a statement of fact. In fact, one can speak with the full authority of one stating a fact, when in fact what is being stated is not
factually accurate. A professor can, for example, state with full authority that the Constitution for the United States of America is a living
breathing document, and because he said it as if it was a statement of fact, his students accepted it as fact in spite of the obvious nature of facts
and the fact that paper - no matter how sacred - lives and breaths.
Of course, these are compound facts, which is to say they are abstractions of what is observed to be facts, but if we say, for example, that the
Constitution for the United States of America is a living breathing document, we have to necessarily presume certain facts to begin with such as the
fact that there are actually constitutions, or that there is actually a place called the United States of America, and for that matter, we have to
presume certain facts about what United States of America means if we are to accept as fact there actually is a United States of America. So many
facts to presume before we can "know" the facts. It is arguable that by using the emotive language of "living breathing document" the calculated
coolness of objective fact is tempered with the humanity of heartwarming subjective fact...as empty rhetoric "living breathing document" may be.
There is also the fact of the Liars Paradox. If I were to state:
"This statement is false."
It is a presumed fact that I asserted this as a statement of fact, and yet the statement itself does everything it can to disavow itself from any
fact. If we assume that statement A is true, and statement A is:
A) This statement is false
Then the statement is true, which is to say it is false. This leads to a contradiction. Assuming there are no contradictions, and checking our
premise we can reevaluate the situation and assume instead that Statement B is neither true or false. Under this assumption, if we state the same, it
is neither true that this statement is false, nor is it false. Whether it is a fact that this statement is false or not, that this statement exists
as this statement is false is certainly a fact, and it is a fact that this statement is false has contradictory properties it seems, but it is also a
fact that perception of fact greatly changes the facts, all of which may be true, or may be false, and this is a fact.
In science, facts are touted to be those objective verifiable observations that are distinguished from hypothesis and theory, but in fact, objective
verifiable observations are given more lip service than practice, or maybe it only appears to be so and is not at all a fact, in fact. The scientific
community at large, in its global incarnation, has amassed a community of credentialed consensus and conventional wisdom, this is a fact. It is also
a fact that certain hypothesis so popular their point of purchase bypasses theory and is sold straight away as fact, and anyone who dare challenge the
popularity of this marketed "fact", terms such as "dissident" and "denialist" are bandied about like explosive pejoratives. For those who have
been labeled a "dangerous dissident" or a "crazy denialist", they know the fact of its jabs. Some would argue that these are not the facts.
The problem with facts for scientists - at least "objective facts" - is that there were all these really cool budding religions such as psychiatry,
psychology, and social engineering that were vying for credentialed status among the scientific community. Some would say my sarcasm is not factually
accurate and that psychology, psychiatry and social "sciences" are not at all religion and are very much "science". With all due respect to the
facts, it is a fact that from this writers perspective that so much of the behavior from psychiatrists, psychologists, and social "scientists" is so
strikingly similar to shamanism that it is more than just biting satire to speak to these fields as if they were theological. The term "soft
sciences" was used colloquially by a scientific community eager to include these mystical scientist/shamans. That's a fact! Or maybe not.
The fact about historical facts is that outside of the objective facts of dates and places - and even some of they can fall under the shadow of
suspect - most of history relies heavily upon subjectivity to communicate the facts. The fact of history is that it is a story told after the fact.
The facts of history rely on the witnesses to it, and their recordings of events and eras. History is then sifted by historians who either work to
avoid bias in finding historical determinations, or wholly embrace their bias while sharing facts they deem important. Then the reader brings their
own interpretations on the facts that were interpreted by the historian who was interpreting the various notes compiled of witnesses of the event or
person who interpreted the facts as well. It is a fact that there is a whole lot of interpretation going on in history.
It is also a fact that some guy somewhere once said "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it", and it is a fact that even history has a
history, and if we remember the past only to witness its repetition, then what? What will be the facts of when history is over? What comes after the
end of history? The fact is, I just threw in those questions on an impulse.
Finally, and in fact, there is law. In most common law jurisdictions, facts are those principles of jurisprudence that are well supported. In common
law, in order to bring a legal pleading one must show a cause of action and must prove through facts that cause is just. In legal proceedings there
is a "fact finding" portion of a trial. If appeals are necessary, their standing will depend upon the merit of the facts. Indeed, the fact is that
facts are very important in law, as they are in all fields of endeavor. Facts are important to teachers, and doctors, architects, contractors, and
journalists. Facts are necessary to uphold our standards. Facts are fun.
I hope you've enjoyed the fact that I have, in fact, rambled on and on about facts, but have not really made any point of fact. If, in fact, you
have some facts about facts you'd like to get off your chest, please enlighten us on these fantastically fabulous facts.