There are no facts, only interpretation

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Seek
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There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #1

Post by Seek »

Nietzsche made this statement to refute the idea that humans know anything. What do you think?

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Miles
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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #2

Post by Miles »

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Gotta disagree.

Personally, I go along with the philosophical definitions that say: "A 'fact' can be defined as something that is the case—that is, a state of affairs." and "Facts may be understood as information that makes a true sentence true."
Source: Wikipedia

As for scientific facts I like what Stephen Jay Gould has said; "In science, 'fact' can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."



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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #3

Post by Purple Knight »

Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 7:14 am Nietzsche made this statement to refute the idea that humans know anything. What do you think?
If I can't know anything then I can't know that you have asked that question and any answer would be completely pointless.

I... do sort of agree with Nietzsche. I see what he's getting at and I believe it's true. If there are facts, they must come to us through our senses and then be interpreted by our brains which aren't perfect, so there is always the possibility of error.

There is also such a thing as so unlikely it isn't even worth considering, which is even aside from the fact that I can prove it isn't worth considering (and did so) by rendering the consideration meaningless if the premise is correct. Besides this proof, there is also the idea that we can, in many instances, reduce the possibility of error to such a minuscule consideration that although we could be wrong, we probably aren't. We can double and triple check. We can consult others. We can use replicability. We can look at P-values. But my favourite error check remains confirmation:

If only two people in all the world see psychiatrists as demons, then they're crazy. But if they see the same demons, then everyone else is crazy.

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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #4

Post by BeHereNow »

[Replying to Miles in post #2]

"As for scientific facts I like what Stephen Jay Gould has said; "In science, 'fact' can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."

And yet, such confirmation has been false, quite frequently looking at the big picture.

We know, with "scientific certainty", that some cherished belief(s) of science is/are not factual. Some scientific fact has no basis on an actual event. It is, shall we say, a perverse belief, known as a scientific fact.

The rub is, we do not know which of these scientific facts are actual events, and which are perverse. On faith, we rightly assume the vast majority of them are not perverse.

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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #5

Post by BeHereNow »

[Replying to Purple Knight in post #3]

"If I can't know anything then I can't know that you have asked that question and any answer would be completely pointless."

I believe Nietzsche would point out that you may know nothing, but have many beliefs. We all have beliefs we "know" are true, that are pure fiction. You do not know the question, but you have definite beliefs about what the question means.

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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #6

Post by BeHereNow »

Fact. An actual event or occurrence.

Claim: There are no facts, only interpretation.

There is another claim that some people make, that is closely related, but distinctly different.

Claim: Facts are not knowable by the human mind.
This claim does not deny a reality, full of facts. It is just that, for whatever reason, the factual nature of reality eludes us, is nebulas, foggy, filling our mind with half-truths, full of subjectivity, with some degree of objectivity. If we examine the beliefs of various minds about a single fact, we see some agreement, and some disagreement. Thus, in a sense, none of us views a fact exactly as a different mind would, so we describe it differently. One fact, and two minds, means there will be two descriptions of that fact. If representation of facts can exist in the mind, two facts are represented, one in each mind. Neither is completely congruent with the actual fact.

These two claims do have some common ground, but are very different.

If there are no facts, some individuals, like Howard Zinn, are free to invent reality. Truth becomes a social construct. Faithful civil servants spend their days rewriting history.
Yesterday the chocolate ration was increased from two bars, to three.
Today, the same chocolate ration has been increased from one bar, to one and and a half bars.
Next week it will increase from half a bar, to a full bar. Lunch hour will be extended 10 minutes, so workers have more time to enjoy their extra chocolate.

News flash - by an overwhelming majority the people have demanded that all vehicles should be black. The government have responded to the will of the people and made it a criminal act to produce or operate any vehicle of a color other than black.

And so it goes. Because there are no facts, only interpretation, I am free to interpret one way today, and other tomorrow. If the needs of society change, so do the interpretations of "facts".

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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #7

Post by Miles »

BeHereNow wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:05 am [Replying to Miles in post #2]

"As for scientific facts I like what Stephen Jay Gould has said; "In science, 'fact' can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."

And yet, such confirmation has been false, quite frequently looking at the big picture.
Yup. In which case the finding was not a fact.

We know, with "scientific certainty", that some cherished belief(s) of science is/are not factual.
Absolutely.

Some scientific fact has no basis on an actual event. It is, shall we say, a perverse belief, known as a scientific fact.
Like what, for example?

The rub is, we do not know which of these scientific facts are actual events, and which are perverse.
Again, do you have an example?


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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #8

Post by BeHereNow »

Miles wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:40 pm
BeHereNow wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:05 am [Replying to Miles in post #2]



Some scientific fact has no basis on an actual event. It is, shall we say, a perverse belief, known as a scientific fact.
Like what, for example?
Well, if we knew the belief has no basis in an actual event, it would not be a "scientific fact".
Are you suggesting that these false beliefs do not exist, because they have not yet been exposed?


The rub is, we do not know which of these scientific facts are actual events, and which are perverse.
Again, do you have an example?
"we do not know" - you are having problems understanding these words?
No, I do not have "an example".
I do not know who will win the next Olympic event, but that does not mean no one will win the next Olympic event.
I could produce a list of names, and say the winner will be one of these.
The same in Science. Maybe that will help.
If I made a list of the "Scientific facts" that may be perverse beliefs, it would look like this:


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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #9

Post by BeHereNow »

Miles wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:40 pm
BeHereNow wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:05 am [Replying to Miles in post #2]
Some scientific fact has no basis on an actual event. It is, shall we say, a perverse belief, known as a scientific fact.
Like what, for example?
If we knew that, it would not be a scientific fact.

The rub is, we do not know which of these scientific facts are actual events, and which are perverse.
Again, do you have an example?
"we not know" - you do not understand these words?
I do not know who will win the next Olympic event. That does not mean no one will win. I could produce a list of contestants, and say one of these will be the one.
Same will Science. I can make a list of candidates, and one of them will be the perverse belief.
The list would include every belief regarded as a Scientific fact.
We know, with Scientific certainty (imperfect though it is), that some cherished beliefs in Science will become obsolete, not a "real" fact, just a perverse belief.
Does that help?


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Re: There are no facts, only interpretation

Post #10

Post by nobspeople »

Seek wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 7:14 am Nietzsche made this statement to refute the idea that humans know anything. What do you think?
Probably depends on some caveats.
1) what are 'facts'? Are they proofs that can be verified and tested independently and net the same results or something else? 1+1=2 is testable and verifiable all the time.
2) what does it mean 'to know'? 1+1=2 but does one really understand what that means?
3) does one have to accept the 'facts'? 1+1=2 is true, but one doesn't have to believe nor accept it, thus their perception of facts (or facts to them) is different than others.

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