Metaphysics for Dummies
The Philosophy of Science Made Easy

 

 

Philosophy in whatever striving for wisdom and equanimity is, in general or specific: reasoning, argumentation, systematic or theoretical hypothesis or knowledge of phenomena (lower case) as explained by, and resolved into, causes and reasons, powers and laws.

Intersubjectivity is achieved when the understanding of a message by the recipient, accurately corresponds to the intended meaning of the sender. As in Socratic Dialectic, working out exactly whatever is found to be unclear, how and why so precisely, is not only crucial to miscommunication repair and the achievement of intersubjectivity, but along with the values and practice of controversy which is the free exchange of criticism, has ever been the intellectual central occupation of all Philosophy to begin with, variously named: analysis or deconstruction, "dissecting" and picking ideas apart, and then any more informative synthesis, putting it all back together again more clearly and completely in order to achieve better understanding, clarity, truth, knowledge, out from whatever puzzlement and confusion that existence and consciousness present us with.

And because clarity is therefore crucial, Logic remains ever central to Philosophy. And as at least for some, Philosophy is the quest for right way of living ones best that entails or requires investigation of the world we live in, this gave rise to Natural Philosophy, that which today we call science. But that only begs all manner of questions as to more effective conduct of such investigation. Hence, the Philosophy of Science, including Metaphysics herein concisely defined is in context and usage pertinent to rationalistic Philosophy of Science. Philosophy, which began, historically, as the quest for the right way of living ones best, called virtue, courage (as in: moral fortitude), excellence, or: arête (ἀρετή) [ar-eh-TAY) not merely personal outlook but even definition of optimum desirable activities, conditions and situation to be sought for, therefore prompts Axiological questions of values including but not limited to Ethics or Morality and even Aesthetics.

 

“Translated from the Greek, the word 'Metaphysics' is a noun denoting: “over or after the natural.” “[...] Some people believe that the study of metaphysics is quackery, a game of charlatans that no honest-to-goodness normal citizen would pursue.” warns 'Metaphysics Made As Easy As Possible', and indeed brief lively and glowing catalogue of inspiration for exactly such intellectual ill repute rapidly ensues! In historical actuality, Aristotle's Metaphysics has become so known simply because the works of Aristotle are traditionally compiled such that The Metaphysics prefaces Aristotle's writings upon Physics, material (or: natural) science. All usages and concepts of Metaphysics begin and diverge from Aristotle's famously eclectic work, whence wherein even fundamentals of logical causality for natural science actually still serving in good use, ever await the most difficult extrication from convoluted mystical and Theological confusion of magical and mechanistic worldviews and the worst enduring obscurantism that inevitably ensues. Aristotle's celebrated causes, are meaningless in terms of potential becoming essence, the known explained in vague terms of the unknown, but make perfect sense once understood in terms of explanation in more lucid terms of known mechanistic causality and as applicable, even motivation. For example, Aristotle's potential residing in the hands of the sculptor to be transmitted and transformed into the essence of the statue, is unintelligible mystification, poetical and magical, whereas the mechanistic causality of sinew and chisel breaking off shards of stone, is plain and profane. Even the sculptor's purpose can be considered. Metaphysics foundering in such or similar Mystical confusion, is traditionally so abstruse until the advent of Karl Popper who strove to clarify and simplify Metaphysics into field more amenable to scientific honesty and hence any hope of intelligibility. Therefore, to begin by boiling down what remains abstruse:

Regarding most broadly Metaphysics as the philosophy of the nature of being, inescapably that must admit Metaphysics as as pertains to essential forms or formal precise logical systematization of abstractions along with the subject matter or application of the the dizzying broader range of usage and convictions particularly as may pertain even to howsoever Epistemologically and Methodologically dubiously claimed howsoever transcendent esoteric knowledge or Theology of subjects putatively existent or mysteriously or even magically and mystical influence upon our lives, after all conceivably as elusive and indirect from the concrete physical world as are abstract principles generally, and hypothetically if so given, perhaps similarly intelligible more to the mind than the senses, of the term 'Metaphysics,' admissible as well to Metaphysics as more concisely defined in context and usage pertinent to Rationalistic Philosophy of Science, or, to put it more concisely, Rationalistic Metaphysics, explicitly in that no conjecture, however groundless, is ever forbidden a'priori. After all, Metaphysics includes all question of Ontology of any kind. 

Hence, Ad Hominem aside, which is to say: however possibly actually motivated, controversy between Rationalism equipped with Scientific Method on the one hand, and on the other hand, the entire range of opposition to the former, generally tends to be, indeed, Epistemological and Methodological, regarding all questions of standards of evidence.

Indeed, any sheer illogic, regardless of source and vintage, may ever thereby become subject to criticism, fault-finding and controversy, of course for purposes of bringing to light and logically disprove invalid circuitous reasoning and self contradiction, but also in order to make alternative non mechanistic conjectures as to the very nature of being and causality, of such audacity as thereby to challenge even known logic itself, all adequately explicit. Because, again, all conjecture is permissible, however extreme. But then lucid presentation remains all the more crucial to Metaphysics with ever any conceivable bearing upon the practice of science. This is because truth is correspondence to
objective reality, therefore truth is likewise singular. And therefore, in order even possibly to be true, an hypothesis must first be precisely clear.

 

However, broadest usage aside, even in context and usage specifically as pertinent to Rationalistic Philosophy of Science, there nevertheless remain two important distinct senses of the word 'Metaphysics', because the suffix 'Meta' here is employed both in a somewhat different denotation both of 'beyond' and also in the sense of 'pertaining to' as aspects or application of Metaphysics. 

 
Ontological questions of objective reality are pursued Epistemologically. But objective reality, which is the domain of Ontology, also still includes that which is not Epistemologically accessible or knowable, at least by us, as yet.

And accordingly, since an hypothesis, to be scientific, must be testable and conceivably refutable, and therefore even rejecting all argument from First Principle, Metaphysics, in the sense that the prefix 'Meta' is still to be understood to denote that Metaphysics howsoever is thought to lie beyond the boundaries not just Physics but science in general, is the domain of questions that cannot, as yet, be tested, lacking conditions of refutation in order to be tested, offering no observably different predictions of differentiating results from those of whatever competing hypotheses, but that may nevertheless- be at all rationally discussed or subject to reasoning, even just hypothetically (what if), as for example in sheer conjecture and even whatever explanatory power all thereof, even such issues of critical preference as explanatory adequacy together with optimal simplicity, called: theoretical elegance, if not even the sheer esthetics all thereof, and also Logic, certainly as pertains to essential forms or formal precise logical systematization of abstractions.

Logic is deemed Metaphysical in that Logic deals abstractly with validity being: the internal constancy, or else not, of propositions, in demarcation from Empirical scientific investigation seeking knowledge of truth which is awareness of correspondence to reality in assertions.

After all, Philosophy endures as the incubator of emergent new fields of science. And science that unlike religion must strive for impartiality, is often criticized by various Mystics of an alleged prior commitment to materialism. But science is an Empirical study of objective reality. Hence, if commitment to materialism as alleged is seen as so prejudicial, then the remedy, a revolution in science, would be Empirical objective study that is not materialistic. But what form would that take, and how might such an undertaking even be possible and accessible to science? What might be the central inquiry, questions or problems? What manner of hypothesis? By what standards of evidence and conditions of refutation? By what protocols and experimental controls? Contrary to reputation, Mysticism that is naive and sincere, with no effort of faith, can actually be skeptical. But the skepticism of Scientific Method, subject to Epistemological Methodology, must be systematic, Empirical and repeatable.

Theology, seeking to explain the known in terms of the unknown, has never emerged from Metaphysics because the entirely hypothetical problems, conundrums and entire corpus of argument in a vacuum that is Theology even yet remain entirely bereft of any detectably correspondent reality for Empirical scientific investigation seeking to explain the unknown in terms of the known. Nevertheless, abstract good or value which defies description in in terms any worldly physical properties of things or phenomena, and therefore often laid claim by Theology and religion, is actually qualitative intangible idea and motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances that are nonetheless very real even though as yet, the Scientific Method cannot address Axiological questions beyond simply describing different Axiologies as characteristic of different individuals and cultures. Hence, Axiology strives to emerge from Metaphysical discourse into scientific investigation. And yet, though there are no end of vexingly vague and confusing moral grey areas, conflicts and fine distinctions, some simpler moral assertions do remain seemingly plainer and more enduring. Can Axiology, the study of values, then be accepted as a legitimate field of approximation no less than any other inquiry?

Or for another example, -and speaking of alternative non mechanistic conjectures as to the very nature of being, causality and even Logic at all- the question of whether Quantum Mechanics, Ontologically, is a function of Indeterminacy, whatever that means, or just any more ordinary measurement uncertainty, Epistemologically, is an intelligible question that at long last passing out from abstract Metaphysics into practicable science, only now as testable hypotheses to answer that question are emerging, as well as competing testable hypotheses, and prior hypotheses are becoming predictive and testable that hither to may not have been. 

And this may yet bear impact into Metaphysics in the broader Philosophical definition thereof as concerning itself Ontologically with the nature of being, specifically as including conundrums of the aware and thinking conscious mind with at least seeming free willed choice in whatever sort of qualitative aspect relationship or coexistence with the physical body subject to causality of whatever sort and determinism (even unto Nihilism) or Indeterminacy or perhaps anything else, if not utter magic or destiny for all that we know.

 

But Metaphysics in the related sense that the prefix 'Meta' is ever construed to denote that Metaphysics is howsoever intended simply to pertain not merely to Physics but as extended also to science in general, is the Philosophy of science that strives towards an optimal guiding premise for Scientific Method, much as Algebra is to Mathematics. 

The difference is, however, that Mathematics including Algebra is simply part of Logic, logical principles and generalities being no more than the broadest and most consistently Empirically corroborated observations possible, in support of the hypothesis of any truth, as to denote: correspondence to reality, accrued via any practicable discipline of Logic, because Logic is true regardless of knowledge thereof, dealing with causality most broadly and abstractly, therefore taken as being also an aspect somehow inherent to external reality, therefore also an invariant internally consistent principle in and of itself (or, so we may hope), equations leading inexorably as they always have, to their valid internally self consistent solutions. In other words, it appears that synthetic conceptual a'priori analytic Logic has developed to agree and converge completely and identically with posteriori Empirically corroborated applied Logic (being the body, set or collection of broadest most general and most consistently corroborated observations). -Until Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Indeterminacy, or so it seemed at first. In the meantime, the Physics of Fisher Information has reduced Quantum Mechanics to a function of Thermodynamics, an aspect of entirely mechanistically logical Classical Physics. thereby neatly reducing Quantum Indeterminacy to ordinary predictable measurement uncertainty. 

But mere reference to logic, being knowledge providing the principles of correct reason, nevertheless never ensures correct utilization thereof. Indeed, Phenomenologically, one readily perceives oneself as being entirely logical, even whilst committing even the most gross or subtle of errors in reasoning that so easily evade detection. The knowledge and practice of Logic was only perfected by civilization. To begin with, a capacity for logic is encoded into the human brain by the trial and error of evolutionary survival and reproductive success, along with certain logical falsities, particularly certain psychological false tendencies as of reinterpretation in light of invited inference or of reciprocal correlation and enduring relationship, even therefrom magical causality, along with other similar over confidence in mistakes of fallacious reasoning, gross and subtle, yet close enough and not generally grave enough to sufficiently imperil immediate survival and thereby forestalling reproductive success completely enough to wipe out our species. -For example, among many possible false inferences, various blithe overextension of inductive argument by analogy, which endured the longest before finally being discredited thereby seemingly concluding the history of logic. Categorical logic as we know it is complete. As things stand, there is nothing more to discover or resolve.

And even logic is subject to the incompleteness principle, thereby allowing a range of possibility within limitations, yet by itself inadequate to explain or predict further specifics so as to complete the picture. Whereas it is science that goes beyond the abstract in seeking particular truth, defined as correspondence to reality in far more particular assertions. And so, unlike any purely logical exercise, science is also Empirical in that science is dependant upon external reality testing investigating problems confronted in the real world by continually narrowing at all likely viable hypotheses from amongst logical possibilities including as they must, also those hypotheses which happenstantially are not true.

That is why science deals in weighing the evidence as best we may. Whereas Inductivism misguidedly asserts support logically valid towards inexorable conclusion, hypothetico-deductive science deals in supporting evidence nevertheless remaining uncertain and open to interpretation. Because there is no absolute proof, proof positive, or proof at all, outside of logic including mathematics, wherein proof is only of validity, defined as theoretical logical internal consistency, and never of truth, again, defined as correspondence to external reality which is never ascertainable by logical possibility alone but only by investigation Empirically. Abuse of the precept of 'proof' outside of logic, historically has served only to misguidedly imply a similar certainty to what are rightly entirely Empirical questions that by contrast to logical problems, can never be resolved a'priori.

Thus, Metaphysics consists of Ontology, Phenomenology, Epistemology and by extension, Methodology that informs Scientific Method

 

Down the rabbit hole: Digressions into paradox

Epistemologically and Methodologically, all interpretation of Empirical observation of objective reality must be subject to constraints of logic, but never vice versa.  However, is all that really true after all? Or can it be that there may indeed be Empirical observations forcing us to reevaluate even logic in and of itself??!! It is an Ontological tautology that nothing ever really supersedes logic. But can we yet even know logic as it truly is?

Again, logic, providing the principles of correct reason, nevertheless never ensures correct utilization thereof. Indeed, Phenomenologically, one readily perceives oneself as being entirely logical, even whilst committing even the most subtle of errors in reasoning that so easily evade detection. Logic was only perfected by civilization. To begin with, a capacity for logic is encoded into the human brain by the trial and error of evolutionary survival, along with certain logical falsities, particularly certain psychological false tendencies especially as of reinterpretation in light of invited inference or of reciprocal correlation and enduring relationship, even therefrom magical causality. along with other similar over confidence in mistakes of fallacious reasoning, gross and subtle, yet close enough and not generally grave enough to actually forestall reproductive success and eliminate whatever cognitive characteristics. -For example, among many possible false inferences, various blithe overextension of inductive argument by analogy, which endured the longest before finally being discredited thereby seemingly concluding the history of logic. Categorical logic of as we know it is complete. As things stand, there is nothing more to discover or resolve.

Categorical logic pertaining to mechanistic causality therefore deals in variables, known or unknown, that are either true or not true at any given moment, only. This is called: the excluded middle, violation whereof is sheer illogic as willfully embraced in doublethink. But instead of singular actuality, the indeterminate probabilities of the nigh surreal and certainly Post Modern Copenhagen interpretation Quantum Mechanics seemingly claim incursion into the excluded middle, which is to claim that there is no singular truth (correspondence to reality), after all. -that is, though, save as for one remaining central question as to whether the Copenhagen interpretation Quantum Mechanics itself is true or false, in other words: whether otherwise there is singular truth or not. And hence the standing scientific challenge of falsifiability to bring Quantum Mechanics, specifically the Copenhagen interpretation, out from Metaphysical speculation. -Unless the scientific quest for truth itself and therefore interpretation of results at all, be rejected entirely...

And the other important conundrum aside from the notion of statistical causality as entailed in Quantum Indeterminacy, also confounding traditional Mechanistic Logic, is entailed in any conceivable prospect of time travel back into the past, which indeed may rival statistical causality as entailed in Quantum indeterminacy (though in the meantime falsified by the Physics of Fisher Information which has reduced Quantum Mechanics to a function of Thermodynamics, an aspect of entirely mechanistically logical Classical Physics, thereby neatly reducing Quantum Indeterminacy to ordinary predictable measurement uncertainty) as the most alien concept to all human thought and experience.

But with ever the achievement or discovery of backwards time travel, logic as we know it would be rendered by the very possibility, merely a specialized case or subset of rules for localized application of some greater principle than the logic we know. After all, even logic itself deals in causality, while retrograde time travel means causality violation, turning linear unidirectional logic and causality as we know it, on its head! Only in classic time travel Science Fiction are enshrined different at all self consistent fundamental speculations, that will belong to Metaphysics until if ever experimentally falsifiable, as to the hypothetically conceivable workings and ramification of causality turned back upon itself in closed time-like loops. 

Indeed, however, we are already confronted with an inadequacy of known logical causality
at the limiting terminus of chronological regression or else by the very lack thereof,
that is to say: at the very beginning of time if any, or else otherwise what then?
 
 
“Reality, what a concept!”  — Robin Williams

Ontology is the question of what is, the domain of objective reality. An ontic or Ontological statement or hypothesis, called an assertion, is a declarative statement such as employs the verb "to be" dealing with what is. An Ontology is any particular hypothesis concerning existence, that which may exist and conditions as they may obtain. 

But reality is distinct from our limited knowledge thereof: 

The field of Phenomenology is the study of the Phenomena constituent from experience, introspection and reflection. A specific Phenomenology is any particular hypothesis seeking in any part to explain the Phenomena.  

Subjectivity refers to effects, even as often howsoever Psychologically value loaded and inevitably biased, resultant from the perspective of whatever or whomever effected or even affected, as expressed by verbs most especially seeming and hence, from the subjective first person perspective, expressed, grammatically, in the passive voice.

For the Phenomena, literally, appearances, is each our own private ongoing conjectural simulation of objective reality from continual sensory input in context and inevitable bias, in which we live. Tennessee Williams wrote: "We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life." But the senses inform the mind, gathering memories, processing information, thought and imagination, all in order to generate ongoing experience of life inside the flesh and from the skin outward. Structure in the very light, sound, tactile surfaces and odiferous particles, all discovered via processing of sensory input extended over space and time, provides longitudinal data, Empirical knowledge of environs and events therein for an observer, while memory impression of emotional reaction thereto and cognition thereof, likewise informs any sense of self in reflection thereupon. In other words, not just any effect whatsoever, but, more specifically, that we experience at all, both perception, an interpretation from sensory input from the outside world, immediacy of emotional response, motivation, priorities, and also in consciousness, not just experience, but introspection and reflection or: inner life, logic, reasoning, memory and that we come to be aware of our own thoughts and feelings, even intentions, that are often considered as perhaps intrinsic qualities or qualia, perhaps even ineffable properties of experience or as experienced even such as immediacy, as qualified, described in however differentiating distinctive characteristics rather than as however if at all quantified, numerically. -In drama, Point Of View or POV, wherein the literary device of interior monologue may attempt to convey in words, reflection, situation with Literary Representation of consciousness or thought process as a vehicle of narration. Indeed, stream-of-consciousness may endeavor to show, convey or portray experience, the entire subjective Phenomena, as it passes by, however even at random.

Existentially, what is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, meaning as only created in the mind, interpretation, values, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding. Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.

Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict. The gap in Behaviorism was never cognitive, but Psychodynamic all along. Objective real and observable behavior, including action and expression or dialogue, is often actually less mediated by cognitive events than by Psychodynamic events, feelings and motivations to be specific, often with inner conflict, in an observable (show: don't tell) cycles of Motivation-Reaction Units. Cognition is a rational function of the ego, that is, no less than emotion, Phenomenologically manifest not only spontaneously to external triggers, but in ongoing even unconscious process and conscious reflection afterwards.

Perceptual Physiology, Neuroscience and Psychology all impact Phenomenology, the study of the Phenomena. Indeed, in the personal constructs of social cognition, elaborate construction of false inference built from successive red herrings, often arises from various learned or innate naturally flawed Epistemological Methodology.

Just as Solipsism is the fruitless hypothesis that nothing is actually real save, perhaps, for the perceiver or perhaps, at that, not even the self, Empiricism is the promising Epistemological, Phenomenological and Ontological hypothesis that knowledge of reality may ever be brought about, one way or another, from experience of some external reality, either hapenstantially or circumstantially in the course of life unfolding, or actually by deliberate observation and/or experiment.

Thus does Empiricism relate Phenomenology and Epistemology, Ontologically

Epistemology is the question of, if not discourse, abstractly, into the very nature and circumstances of knowledge and how knowledge is possible, then perhaps more fruitfully, conjecture and even observation how knowledge actually arises, particularly, by whatever, if any, the causal chain of events as ever may end, indeed, in knowledge. An Epistemology is any particular hypothesis, if not as to the very nature and circumstances of knowledge and how knowledge is possible, then perhaps more fruitfully, any conjecture and even observation how knowledge actually arises, and indeed, at the end of what manner of causal chain of events, if any

Autonomously, in science as in day to day functionality, getting by without certainty remains entirely feasible and routine, by living in reasonable doubt which is only healthy and responsible. Hence the non justificationism of Karl Popper flatly rejects the even circuitously reasoned traditional definition of Epistemology as the branch of Philosophy which investigates the origin, structure, methods and validity of knowledge, and indeed, to begin with, the view of knowledge as justified true belief, even by its own criterion to begin with. Rather, hypothesis may be supported by new evidence at any juncture, but never justified in advance. All hypothesis begins as unfounded conjecture, only then subject first to critical preference and then to Empirical reality testing. Therefore even our best knowledge must ever be regarded as provisional. We need not go so far as to abide in any desperate fog of perpetual doubt, but we must remain open to refutation by new evidence or argument as inevitably arises because are all fallible and there is no certainty let alone complete certainty, and neither any such thing as not any need of justification for knowledge or belief. And validity is internal consistency of propositions, a question only of logic, not by any transitive property, likewise ever any aspect of knowledge let alone belief or opinion. Moreover, any truth and any untruth can both either be believed or not (even howsoever doublethinked), one way or another, by someone, at any given moment. Rather, truth is the property of assertions, specifically, correspondence to reality, regardless of who believes whichever assertions or not at any given moment. For that matter, as a fine point, deliberate methods of discovery, knowledge creation and acquisition, all belong to applied Epistemology called: Epistemological Methodology. All thus Epistemology is the branch of Philosophy that investigates the origin, structure and actual process (aside from deliberate method, indeed, purposeful or not) whereby arises knowledge which is: awareness of truth which is: correspondence to reality in assertions.

-None of which actually renders all assertion equally arbitrary, because even by itself the abandonment of justification never rules out criticality in the entirely fallible evaluation of hypotheses.

Methodology, again, is is applied Epistemology, the search for any systematic application of Epistemology, deliberately, in ongoing investigation. An Epistemological Methodology may be prescriptive, that is to say, a recommendation, as to how most effectively to go about increasing and improving knowledge. But there are also claims and observations of Epistemological Methodology as practiced, that may even differ at all from theory or recommendation.

For Epistemological Methodology in the Philosophy of Science, most singularly crucial to science, is the investigation, both purely rational and logical, and also Empirically and historically, into the salient principles, workings, validity and actual practice of Scientific Method, into the efficacy thereof and the reasons why or else failure analysis, even as science advances drawing Scientific Method into new challenges and novel context as ever may arise, in hopes of detecting and correcting the ever possible decent even of Scientific Method into blind habit and superstitious arbitrariness and gradually degeneration into pseudoscience. Indeed, the quest of Epistemological Methodology ever seeks for necessary premise to valid Scientific Method. An Epistemological Methodology is any specific hypothesis striving thereto.

Practical ramifications of such abstractions:

Otherwise, Scientific Method becomes ever more slipshod and arbitrary, continually degenerating and subject to distortion, as systemic problems and error unchecked, creep in, continually. As, for example, with the self validation of assumptions in statistical quality control. Epistemology helps keep us honest. When questions as to the very nature of valid Scientific Method, what and why, are neglected or actually tabooed, Scientific Method has been seen even to decline into useless and misleading superstition including typical Quantum silliness. Epistemology invites any attempt at the application of principles and process of Scientific Method, and standards thereof, to the explicit or implicit Methodology and practice of Scientific Method itself and all manner of ever arising questions thereof, interesting and crucial problems which progress and new challenges eventually and inevitably unearth.

Crucial Epistemological and Methodological questions include those of Inductivism Vs Hypothetico Deductivism and Reductionism Vs. Gestalt.

 

The Scientific Method as typically taught us in school and preliminary undergraduate science courses, is a process consisting of the following four steps in order:

  1. Observation or description of a phenomenon or set of phenomena
  2. Formulation of an explanatory hypothesis
  3. Employ of said hypothesis in prediction of other specific further results
  4. Performance of experiments under clearly defined experimental conditions in order to test said predictions

Actually, however, in science as in life and in deviation from scenario, all stages are concurrent, perpetual and ever subject not only to to ongoing correction but unexpected discovery and surprising new direction of inquiry entirely. The Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action Loop, applies. Hence throughout, there is endless controversy confronting problems inherent to every aspect of adequate observation, explanation, prediction and experiment; indeed, of Epistemology and whatever the causal chain of events as ever may end in knowledge, let alone systematic Methodological application thereof.

Because there always needs to be rational, sequitur, causally pertinent and logically valid reasons for good science to be anything more than a mere cultural activity to be dismissed as little more. Otherwise, science, always fallible at best, remains at risk from becoming increasingly arbitrary, even superstitious. 

Knowledge, if there is any such a thing, must be more than belief, arbitrarily, even though our knowledge is so limited and fallible. After all, belief alone can be not only mistaken but even arbitrary and irrational.

But perhaps knowledge may be characterized by Epistemology, the study of the way in which knowledge arises, Methodologically, which is to say, deliberately and systematically. In other words, the way in which truth, correspondence to reality, and not just logical validity, may better and more reliably be identified in assertions, statements of initially unfounded conjecture, and come to our awareness. More specifically, perhaps the nature of knowledge in specific, rather than all possible belief generally, is somewhere in cognition or learning, even however fallible. Indeed, even linguistically, knowledge may often be understood from Empirical Epistemology, as even synonymous with subjective perception and experience, as when one has known sorrow, or even in the biblical sense of carnal knowledge.

After all, any conjecture or  may be true or not, but the question remains how said truth or falsity might be detected and known, either way. And this, perhaps, is what characterizes knowledge, distinctly. Thus must knowledge be somehow distinct from mere happenstancially true conjecture, in that knowledge must be more than lucky accidental incidental true possibility that might well go undetected (even though knowledge often does come about by chance discovery).  

Unfailingly, a stopped clock is precisely and exactly true twice a day, just as the tired old joke goes. But such will tend to be unknown truth. Indeed, there would be more knowledge of the time of day to be gleaned Empirically, though however approximately, simply by gazing up at the sky! Indeed, if our hypothetical clock where not entirely broken, but still chimed anywhere near the hour of the frozen hands, then anyone might ever come to know.

Knowledge only occurs by comprehension as structured in the mind. Yet knowledge means knowledge of truth. To acknowledge is to show or to accent to any awareness of any particular truth, being the correspondence to reality of any particular assertion. Knowledge is awareness of truth (defined as correspondence to reality) particularly in assertions. And even no matter how problematical, knowledge, any event of awareness of truth, as a repeatably observable and corroborated enduring or recurrent real circumstance or occurrence, seems unrefutedly possible. It is only certainty that actually remains impossible. Hence the demand for knowledge to be certain knowledge remains impossible and unreasonably perfectionist. Knowledge can ever more closely approach, but never quite arrive at, the whole truth, because there will always be much remaining unknown, countless gaps and errors yet to be discovered. That is why, as a matter of Epistemology, knowledge is improved Hypothetico Deductively, evolving by the process of continual trial and error and even verisimilitudinous approximation, according to soundest available or practicable Methodology

Again even linguistically, knowledge may often be understood from Empirical Epistemology, as even synonymous with subjective perception and experience, as when one has known sorrow, or even in the biblical sense of carnal knowledge. But knowledge can also be of information, cases, skills and processes. "Factual" [sic.] or declarative information is often the easiest to state and to assess and simply therefore often preferred, even though no less often of least practical importance, concepts that must be comprehended and skills often being found the most difficult to articulate, often learned only in the doing and of greatest practical importance along with processes and cases.

Truth seldom lies buried in the data and therefore knowledge is not simply an end product of induction by Empirical packrats. Massive unsorted garbage in, bloated and obscure garbage out. Esoteric knowledge, prescriptive and calculatingly encoded and camouflaged into intentional obscurity or else however entirely ingenuous and descriptive, is fundamental yet derived only via careful comparison of diverse knowledge from many fields with keen attention and sagacity, and stultified by by compartmentalization. Indeed, according to the Triz theory of inventive problem solving, only pioneering discoveries are more rare and precious than cross-disciplinary solutions, knowledge imported from one discipline into another. While the ineffable, even knowable, even transmissible, nevertheless defies explanation or description. And relevant living knowledge (as opposed to knowledge that is rightly called: inert), serving renewal and vitality, is growth, the experience of change put into practice, learned behaviors never immutable but ever subject to re-adaptation, emergent in collective interaction, tacit, highly charged and redolent, profoundly with the sensibility of drama, may even skirt the ineffable, often defying ready articulation let alone routine management via knowledge-driven Epistemology.

Knowledge can be of information, cases, skills and processes, abilities ingrained to second nature. "Factual" [sic.] or declarative information is often the easiest to state and to assess and simply therefore often preferred, even though no less often of least practical importance, skills often being found the most difficult to articulate and of greatest practical importance along with processes and cases.

 

 

So, what is the importance of all this vocabulary definition? 

Answer: 
In distinguishing the the proverbial map from the metaphorical territory. 

And because arguing fine points thereto, which are often pivotal in just about every other field, becomes unbelievably cumbersome sans "them big words" and the primary concepts they encapsulate. -Which must otherwise be parenthetically restated at length in every single sentence! 

And that is always more cumbersome and confusing, not less.  

 

Objectivity should be unambiguous!

Mystical Stoical pursuit of transcendental objectivity metacontextually stripped of all context, entirely misses the point: Clarity neither transcends nor subsumes reality. At all to begin piercing such confusion, there are more than one possibly confusing distinct yet related senses even of the very word: 'objective:'
 
  1. As a noun, an objective is simply any somewhat general goal as ever put forth even as in conscious intent.
  2.  
  3. And, speaking of noble goals as ever put forth or objectives, the striving for objectivity is the effort at clarity of sound and balanced judgment and perception, also fairness and justice as applicable, even in the face of possibly misleading bias and preconception that are inevitable traps of subjectivity because of the need for context indispensable for understanding anything whatsoever at all in the first place. And this is an Epistemological question raising whatever Methodological problems with relevant application to reality principle. Whereas passive denial sinks even the most modest, banal and straightforward proposition into sheer empty pipedream, honest due diligence ekes barest feasibility study at all even out from the most fantastic escapism. Because objectivity is never a secure foundation, but merely an honest intention of at all systematic error detection and course correction along the way.
     
  4. But in the common usage of the term 'objective reality', that which is objective simply denotes distinction from the subjective or Phenomenal. Objective reality, the domain of Ontology, is simply whatever might be the actual nature of reality or any part thereof, howsoever well known or entirely unknown, at all currently Epistemologically accessible to science or else not and therefore consigned in the meantime to Metaphysical speculation, anything real, however distinct from whatever experience or not, thereof, belonging, instead, to the subjective or Phenomenal.
Hence, for example, the question of a magistrate's clarity, objectivity or frame of mind for sound and fair judgment, remains distinct from that of the Ontological objective reality of the circumstances of whatever case at hand, known or unknown. Knowledge is only structured in the mind. Meaning does not preexist externally, but must be assigned. Otherwise, comprehension and discovery are impossible.

But Inductivist conflation of these two distinct senses of the very word: 'objectivity' arises from the vague ideation that objectivity in the mind and it's sound reasoning and conclusions, being more than merely subjective and Phenomenal, somehow partake of or participate in the objectivity of external reality as some kind of transitive property thereof, because the three key claims of Inductivism are that a) knowledge comes directly to careful, unprejudiced observers via the senses, b) that such Empirical data are prior to and independent of theory, and c) that Empirical data constitute a firm and reliable foundation for scientific knowledge. Indeed, we can observe how observations may come prior to theories seeking to explain them, and that theorizing is a rule-governed activity dealing in Empirical observation. Wesley Salmon defines inductive inference as rational but not truth-preserving (invalid) inference, as opposed to deductive inference which is rational and truth-preserving, or rather: logically valid, so that truth (correspondence to reality in assertions) if any, of premise, is conserved only given valid inference. Indeed, rational, non-truth-preserving inferences number among unfounded conjecture which is the beginning of all hypothesis, critical preference and only then Empirical observation, investigation, experiment, and possible refutation following only thereafter. But Inductivim demands instead that simple Empirical observation and thence inductive inference are somehow ultimately truth preserving firm foundation, certitude surrogate, thereby conflating the different senses of objectivity that are actually entirely distinct. Inductivism insists that validity in logic can somehow survive transition into Empirical science, so that there can ever be any such a thing as scientific proof positive. And it is precisely just such pervasive Methodological error as in the coherence theory of truth, defining truth as consistency with current knowledge, and thereby conflating truth which is correspondence to reality, with validity which is only internal consistency in logic, that has engendered those weird and wonderful long standing Cosmologies and theories of Physics as have been ever wandering in abstraction long and far past any point begging for Empirical test of observation, corroboration or refutation.

"from a Christian perspective the two conditions for the scientific study (...) contradict one another. If, in order to be scientific, I must be neutral (...) the ironic result is that I can no longer be objective. For God is truth and to follow the revelation of Himself given in Holy Scripture is the only objective way to pursue truth. To (...) modern men in general, objectivity and fairness require neutrality. To someone who believes that the Bible is God’s truth, honesty and objectivity require commitment."
 
  — Zen: A Trinitarian Critique

Experience of the Phenomena is interactive with reality, hence truly entered into a complex relationship with profound Axiological implication, no matter how simple and distinct in principle. Indeed, reality informs perception which is nevertheless conjectural. For perception, Empirical evidence via induction from reality, does not conserve validity (internal logical consistency) let alone truth (correspondence to reality) the way that sound deductive reasoning conserves validity (internal logical consistency) as extended from premise, and even then therefore truth only given truth in the premise to begin with. Yet sheer dogmatism aside, it is an all too common misguided linguistic implication that the objectivity of external reality is somehow or other identical with or can or somehow has ever magically or sympathetically resonated in any way, or otherwise simply entered like unto the proverbial thief the night, numinously, into the consciousness even of the most objectively minded thinker. -As in the notion of having or possessing [sic.] rather than simply knowing "facts" [sic.] (whatever all that means) rather than truth (correspondence to reality in assertions). Or else, as a straw man argument (misrepresentation of opposing views) to deny objective reality (which is the subject matter of Ontology) at least Epistemologically, that since none of the aforesaid can be so, we must all to any degree therefore embrace Solipsism or even Relativism (which is the baffling oxymoronic doctrine of multiple subjective truth whatever that can possibly mean), or at least some other type or form of Post Modernism, though, arguably, not all schools of Post Modernism are equal or irredeemable to Criticality, only given that conjecturality and uncertainty, indeed as admissible by analytic deconstruction, can at long last be embraced optimistically and never again mourned as the Ecclesiastical futility of Wittgensteinean paralysis.

But any Empirical process, even at best conceivable fidelity, remains entirely mechanistically causal, some sort of physical chain of events and also logical progression from input to conclusion. Objectivity in the mind may even arrive at or at least come close to truth, but truth only means correspondence to reality, objective reality itself remaining distinct from anything of the subjective or Phenomenal. Only the process of Epistemologically sound Methodology in pursuit of truth defined as correspondence to reality, at all accounts for and connects objectivity in the Phenomenal mind to the objectivity of external reality. But the process at best remains fallible. That is why Justice is blind!

Hence these two senses of the word 'objectivity' remain related but distinct, and should so be preserved.

 

Why the very weasel word 'fact' is to be avoided like the plague!

There are no facts, only interpretations.”  — Friedrich Nietzsche

Despite or actually because of how 'fact' [sic.] is so taken for granted, very definition of 'fact' [sic.] is obscure and forgotten. 'Facts' [sic.] have been sometimes defined as the perhaps atomic veritable material of knowledge. And there's the rub: For what exactly would be the very material of knowledge? This is an Epistemological question, with the invited inference that knowledge is composed of discrete items of information. But definitions are actually hypotheses, and that hypothesis, called: Inductivism, is simply false, because stupid and stupefying wrote learning often inculcates only that which may be rightly called: inert knowledge, without analytical evaluative connecting context or index, comprehension or capacity for application. The sheer acquisition of details, is not to be confused with discovery and learning, let alone individual growth of knowledge and even wisdom. And so, Inductivism, the hypothesis that knowledge arises from unprejudiced bulk of raw data, sometimes indeed called:  'fact' [sic.] thereby stands soundly refuted. Therefore we should no more continue speaking of 'fact' [sic.] than of phlogiston, another theoretical substance that historically turned out simply not to exist.

What exactly is the very material of knowledge? What monad is there preexisting comprehension in the mind, that can be recorded, preserved and retained outside of the mind, like fruit preserves in a jar? And the answer is: There can be no such thing. But by explanation, by drawing connections, comprehension, the product of the mind, can be enduringly expressed, shared and retained by humanity. We cannot be free of abstraction, nor should we want to be. Science does indeed advance by the precision of concrete measure in the development of consistent observational and experimental procedures, fallible as they may be, that do save thinking and figuratively reinventing the proverbial wheel every time, but also as liberated thereby, in the expansion of intellectual inquiry and investigation upon new frontiers.

Alas, as ever in apparent blithe assumption of universal consensus, one among so many definitions or theories of 'fact' [sic.] is that ''facts' [sic.], as ever referenced in assertion or declarative statement, are concrete rather than abstract. Terms that are concrete, are such as that reference anything as accessible to the senses, things with form, their color, mass and so on. Whereas abstractions the likes of love, freedom and success, are the more context dependant and subject to debatably variable understanding.

The very concept of 'fact' [sic.] presented as so concrete, is actually not just abstract but needlessly vague and insidiously confusing. As shall be become abundantly clear, the very word: 'fact' [sic.], whether in merely blithe confusion or calculated obfuscation, remains perhaps the most prestigiously pervasive and unsuspected amongst wishy-washy, noncommittal, insubstantial and downright slippery of all doublespeak weasel words, near synonyms that strive so persistently for surreptitious occupation of the logically excluded middle or by invited inference often of howsoever dubious causality, meaning one thing but implying another, to magnify or inflate whatever actual claim:

Weasel Words: Words or remarks that are equivocal or deliberately ambiguous or misleading. Words used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position. [Probably an allusion to the weasel's habit of sucking out the contents of an egg without destroying the shell.]

WeaselWord.Com

A concept so readily debunked, 'race,' so-called, stands as prime example of a a deliberately ambiguous and slippery weasel word, sheer doublespeak, in so far as the word 'race' is so blithely employed actually to suggest species, while evading open and explicit commitment to such blistering absurdity, belief and atrocity. After all, there is only one human species, such minor regional ethno-phenotypic variation notwithstanding.

Fact' [sic.] which is supposed to be distinct, cut and dry, is actually vague, slippery and polysemic, another weasel word. Indeed, returning to the specific weasel word  'fact' [sic.]: Knowledge only occurs by comprehension as structured in the mind. Meaning does not preexist externally, but must be assigned. Otherwise, comprehension and discovery are impossible. Scientific progress and therefore also education, is often said somehow or other to relate to or even consist in rote learning which is the boring and dystressfull accumulation of what are called: 'facts' [sic.]. But science does not progress simply by accretion any more than learning to begin with. And besides, the very word: 'fact' [sic.] is used so interchangeably with a range of other different words that themselves are simply not synonymous. So just what are 'facts' [sic.]?' Do 'facts' [sic.] precede theory? No, reality precedes any model thereof. Aren't 'facts' [sic.] objective? -In what sense of the word? Indeed, aren't 'facts' [sic.] theory laden and contingent? No, observation, even perception, the very Phenomena, are all theory laden and contingent. Indeed, even perceptual neurology is markedly shaped by experience. Phenomenologically, even perception remains conjectural, an exercise in comprehension and judgment, Gestalt feature integration, pattern creation and recognition, all context dependant even in order to be intelligible at all and therefore inevitably biased. Famously, the astronomer Christian Huygens, the first to correctly identify the observed elongation of Saturn as the presence of Saturn's rings, first had to conceive of the very idea of the rings before being able even to see and recognize them as such in order to corroborate his hypothesis by telescopic observation. And there are numerous well known examples of people finding extreme difficulty interpreting an therefore at all perceiving new experiences alien to prior cultural experience. And as entirely fallible conjectural interpretation is so inextricable even from perception at all, the same holds no less true for all information. And as shall be elaborated, that is nothing for anyone ever to be so blithely encouraged to take for granted as by smug misplaced confidence in the chimera of mythical so-called 'facts' [sic.].

Again, fact' [sic.] which is supposed to be distinct, cut and dry, is actually vague, slippery and polysemic, a weasel word. Indeed, what precisely are 'facts' [sic.]? There are many usages or definitions of the word, constituting different hypotheses as to the nature of 'fact' [sic.]. But these usages/definitions/hypotheses do not disagree or contradict, rather they pertain to entirely different concepts and phenomena and thence even reconcile entirely. Only by invited inference or therefore thereby by implication of intent, do the various usages/definitions of 'fact' [sic.] pertain to actually competing Epistemological Methodologies. And the ambiguities of invited inference are to be treated with scrupulous care because even the most Empirically unsupportable and invalid invited inferences that do not even logically follow to begin with, may be understood even however vaguely and lead precisely as intended nevertheless, and therefore are often variously employed in slippery propaganda to argue any Empirically unsupportable and invalid positions that indeed do not even logically follow in the first place, even while simultaneously hypocritically pretending otherwise and so blithely sowing obfuscation thereby.

At least the distinct senses of the word 'objectivity' remain intelligible and useful. But as a costly lazy habit of writing and speech, the very word: 'fact' [sic.] in its ever expanding profoundly Orwellian polysemic deceptively linguistically leading ambiguous vagary, that at the same time masquerades and pretends most cut and dry narrow concise and precise definition, cannot but confuse the distinctions between specialized usages of the very word  'fact' [sic.] as in science or in history or even interchangeably with validity, being no more or less than logical internal consistency, reality, truth which is correspondence to objective reality in assertions, knowledge being awareness thereof, information or data of whatever kind, accepted truism, even data sets arbitrarily, and all so forth and as we shall discover abundantly anon, also by far the worse, all in order thereby to obfuscate the intrinsic and inevitable uncertainty of our Epistemological circumstances, behind a propagandistic veil of myth and symbol of unattainable and actually unnecessary and possibly even undesirable certainty or whatever dubious surrogate thereof, thereby to diffuse appropriate doubt and rationally skeptical credulity.

Again, fact' [sic.] which is supposed to be distinct, cut and dry, is actually vague, slippery and polysemic, a weasel word. Indeed, aside from just such dishonest propaganda application including linguistically leading questions, there simply is no other correct usage of the very word: 'fact' [sic.]. Indeed, there is no statement that cannot be rendered that much clearer and more precisely intelligible and thus more readily accountable, by the simple substitution of any more specific synonym, such as: reality, information, truth, knowledge thereof, and all so forth, for the manipulatively empty, vague, slippery and polysemic, weasel word : 'fact' [sic.]. If the range of possible synonyms cannot be narrowed from context at all, then by that token the sentence is exposed as vague if not actually unintelligible.

Relevant living knowledge (as opposed to knowledge that is rightly called: inert), serving renewal and vitality, is growth, the experience of change put into practice, learned behaviors never immutable but ever subject to re-adaptation, emergent in collective interaction, tacit, highly charged and redolent, profoundly with the sensibility of drama, may even skirt the ineffable, often defying ready articulation let alone routine management via knowledge-driven Epistemology. Comprehension as opposed to rote learning of inert knowledge, focuses upon relationships amid concepts much as amongst real phenomena. Information in and of itself, is often fluid and uncountable, whereas so-called 'facts' [sic.] are purportedly or implicitly taken to be discrete and itemized. The very notion of 'fact' [sic] is vastly muddled by the most blithe over simplification, in a word: Reductionist

One may declare: This is just stupidity! It would be more unusual to speak of a stupidity, in the singular, or for that matter, of multiple stupidities. Stupidity is not generally regarded as discretely countable. Errors, however, and quite rightly, may be different, distinct and therefore even countable. But as with stupidity, error need not be treated as countable. Usage of the word: 'fact' [sic.] is the same in this regard: All manner of contention may be extolled as 'fact' [sic.], or descried as 'factual' [sic.] or else a 'fact' [sic.] may be spoken of discretely in the singular, or even 'facts' [sic.] in the plural. But while there may be sensible debate in the demarcation of distinct errors, what exactly distinguishes a single 'fact ' [sic.] from any sort of composition of multiple 'facts' [sic.]? The question is not sensible until any one amongst the many entirely differing synonyms for 'fact' [sic.] is explicitly selected. But this is seldom done, which can only engender the most subtle and insidious confusion of bypassing.

Knowledge stated in discrete items of information entails deliberate conscious choice for the sake of clear expression, in parsing and dividing even distinctly related information. But the vague polysemy of the very word 'fact' [sic.] begs question of whether Ontology itself or assertion thereof is denoted, much less countability and by implication, exhortation to Inductivist brainwashed obedient rote memory rather than Gestalt comprehension and opinion of ones own.

Honorable and reasonable people who cleave to any one of the more coherent and linguistically meaningful usages or definitions, of the very word: 'fact' [sic], often stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the disparity amid possible usages and the inevitability of bypassing, being any conversational exchange with different and idiosyncratic meaning to each participant, therefore not even qualifying as entirely successful communication.

Emphatically, I do not know what "facts" [sic.] are. I do not know what the very word means. Therefore, I stopped using it. And so should you, gentle reader!

And an assertion proffered matter-of-factly or even incidentally, generally denotes the distinctly bland confidence of unequivocal unconcern characterizing a disinterested direct straightforward and unemotional neutral tone lacking any surprise whatsoever. The very word 'factual' means either characterized by or containing fact, or merely declarative, or especially, being terse and even to the point, or else, alas, as is more common, trivialization and over simplification dispensing with background and context, and the most flagrant hand waving, the aforesaid fact(s) ranging from 1) those that are objectively real, true denoting correspondent to reality (as indeed, 1a) under law, questions of fact are such as concerning the reality of an alleged event or circumstance to be determined under litigation), or only 2) valid denoting theoretically logical and internally consistent, 3) knowledge denoting awareness of truth (again, truth defined as correspondence to reality), 4 & 5) believed (especially, widely, most especially by consensus), either 4) currently or 5) historically, 6) a) information, b) howsoever considered discrete items thereof, even 7) data sets arbitrarily, all as opposed to imagination, surmise, judgment, opinion (especially individual or minority), viewpoint (likewise), values, sentiment, nor, digression, despite every all too crucial creative and investigative (Epistemologically Methodological) function or intelligible context that all the latter may serve in arriving at any of the former, nor especially, abstraction, said omission being perhaps worst of all, because often the truth is only to be understood only via the effort of conceptualization.

And precisely thus all too often is even the exact truth all too often discounted as merely philosophical! Nevertheless, understanding is exactly no more or less than explanatory abstraction enabling cogitation upon and employment of concepts effective and pertinent to whatever subject matter at hand. Explanation is of causation in context and likewise of consequence. Rational construction comes intermediate between objective reality and subjective perception and experience at all, the Phenomena, let alone abstract or practical comprehension.

And to make natters worse, not only are indispensably contextual background information and original imaginative conceptualization thus disparaged, that we ought never to dig deeper or spare much thought, but the very word 'fact' [sic] has gained from this aforesaid range, set of sets or category of fact, all these seven distinct but often blithely unspecified usages as to be rendered hopelessly ambiguous, in insidiously ever expanding profoundly Orwellian polysemic deceptively linguistically leading ambiguous vagary, that at the same time symbol that masquerades and pretends most cut and dry narrow concise and precise definition. Thus any usage of the very word: 'fact' [sic] such as where a more precise synonym cannot be derived from context, is, of necessity, ambiguously unclear, whether by blithe omission or by conniving propaganda design. For what are the implications, if knowledge, truth and reality, are all so close, as that they might as well be considered all one and the same? Surely, as shall be seen, the implication can only be gleaned that we are living within the very mind of God! Thus the very word ‘fact’ [sic] exists only in order to foment confusion and 9) smuggle blithe certitude surrogate in by the back door. Indeed “facts“ [sic] are often thought to be articles of verified or justified information! But of course, there can be no such thing because actually, science begins from sheer conjectures without justification, and no accumulation of corroboration ever achieves verification because the very possibility of only one new contrary observation constituting refutation, maintains the opening for doubt.

For although propaganda, replete with all manner persuasive symbols and metaphors, is typically emotive, nevertheless there is also pseudo rational propaganda taking the appearance of genuine scientific or journalistic truth or credibility, but often actually deceptive mystification. Because, rather than genuine, rational appraisal of information, citations of ersatz “facts“ [sic] and figures, or just even Inductivist argumentum ad verbosum, the very deluge of purported supporting information quite simply beyond the reader's time and patience, all may so readily leave the impression of great rationality, effectively mythologizing science itself, often by ignoring or under representing important positions upon issues in order thereby preordaining the dominance of ones own favored view, instead of open, straightforward and transparent presentation of whatever arguments and evidence in support of one or another side or conclusion.

Inevitably, just as all manner of entirely unintentional gaps ands errors in faulty knowledge and thinking result in perfectly honest mistakes, selective information, if not also falsehood and vague manipulation, is also often presented in slippery and deceptive persuasion.

And often the intended target of such pseudo rational propaganda is unable or unwilling to analyze the figures, or simply overwhelmed by argumentum verbosium, any sheer calculatedly intimidating volume of material, obscure reference, even Inductivist raw data, such as appears well researched, and thus is persuaded only by the fraudulent appearance of rationality promoted via just such vague capricious mystification as insidiously conditioned into the solid sounding authoritative weasel word: 'fact,' rather than by ever actually reasoning and coming to grips with Epistemological reality and the fallibility of imperfect knowledge, all such salient crucial distinctions blurred by the very word: 'fact' in it's confidently Orwellian vague ambiguity, exactly as will be seen. Again, the very word ‘fact’ [sic] exists only in order to foment confusion and smuggle blithe certitude in by the back door. After all, propaganda exploits much invited inference that is often neither logically valid nor actually entirely true.

5) Indeed, in discussion of history and historiography, in yet another distinctly different usage, the word 'fact' denotes mainstream truisms contemporary to geographical and chronological milieu or familiar world.

4) For a truism is an all too often blithely undoubted assertion all too often however sage or silly, even a platitude, commonly and blithely accepted uncritically as blindingly obvious or self evident, indeed so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning except as a reminder or as a tropic rhetorical or literary device. Alas, however, truisms are notoriously unreliable as they are often informative and time tested. Indeed, the wishful manufacture of utterly fraudulent truisms, factoids and consensus by slight of hand, is ironically dubbed: 'truthiness' by mock pundit (or: "fundit") Steven Colbert. Indeed, a falsism, comedic or otherwise, is an ironic rhetorically obvious falsehood.

4a) Methodologically, journalistic fact checking, so called, more properly called simply: research, always consists of journalistic quality control consisting in even cursory error detecting secondary research wherein the previously compiled body of primary research consists of background knowledge 6b) discrete items and statistics of at all well corroborated 6a) existing information and gathered intelligence from journal of record of even up to the minute current and historical events and also corpus of repeatable science, applied to determination of the veracity, accuracy and honesty of breaking news reportage and public statement.

But the Epistemological Methodology of journalistic follow up research and corroboration popularly referred to as  fact checking, may also include primary research out in the field, indeed detailed investigative reportage in it's own right:

In checking long, reported articles, checkers sometimes made dozens of phone calls a week — to bartenders about a restaurant’s ambience, to E.M.T.’s about how stretchers are handled or to anti-abortion activists about the dimensions of ultrasound images on their placards. Not infrequently, checkers were in the diplomacy business, and the best checkers were known for their bedside manners with sources, reporters and editors. Good checkers did not play gotcha, did not gossip about which reporters were error-prone and stayed true to the goals of journalism — to be newsworthy and interesting — as well as to our sub-sublibrarian dedication to factuality.” 
 
— The New York Times What ‘Fact-Checking’ Means Online

Although even the most excellently capable and conscientious of fact checking, so called, can never be truly immune to all manner of truism among other pitfalls of consensus and the media frame, gaps and errors, the corpus of background knowledge, 6b) discrete items of at all well corroborated 6a) information, though no less constructed and interpretive meaning and understanding, perhaps offers any even provisional grasp upon reality via any serious common knowledge, any degree of truth defined as correspondence to reality in assertions. Nevertheless, each and all such "facts" [sic.] crucially bears explicit and specific naming in turn, out otherwise from undue generality and confusion that so tempts distortion. Indeed,  fact checking, so called, more properly called simply: research, remains notably vulnerable to fraud outright.

Journalistic "fact" [sic.] then, is either simply information and intelligence on record, accurately retrieved, a best effort at that which may be taken as true: in short, ultimately, a more rigorous truism. Or else journalistic "fact" [sic.] may the the product of follow up journalistic investigation. In either case, the purpose is error detection, refutation, and failing that, to gather corroboration and detail. So, why not call it all what it is, instead of confusing the matter? The real question remains Epistemological and Methodological, of standards of journalistic evidence, and needs, always, to be made explicit.

2) In Logic and therefore mathematics, fact is tautological, fact being any part or aspect of a definition, valid denoting theoretically logical and internally consistent, hence taken as given and acceptable as premise in a logical or mathematical proof, however direct and concise or circumlocutious and involved. -In other words, then: a correlate, a proposition that follows with little or no proof required from one already proven. So why not simply conjugate the word: 'valid'?

8) Scientific claims of fact are defined as a) consistent and repeatable observations or as b) assertions thereof. c) -Though by the same token, facts may have to be quantifiable in numerical figures. But if expression of any of the latter is, indeed, precisely the intention, then it will better and stronger by far to state exactly so, that whatever observations are consistent and repeatable, or that assertions to that effect have been proffered. -Let alone stated only quantifiably, or worse, without qualification or worse still, without bias of hypothesis for context and actually therefore entirely bereft of comprehension and meaningless, as ever the case may be.

And the same goes likewise for any other context, usage and abuse of the word 'fact.' Know what you mean and say what you mean. For Orwellian language is insidious! Indeed, blithe habit of usage never necessarily insures understanding or coherence. And the very word 'fact' has come to embody all that has ever so needlessly come to be rendered convolutedly obscure about that which is most simple, manifest and fundamental in Metaphysics.

9) Beware, then, the most insidiously euphemistic ninth meaning and usage of that ultimate authoritatively evasive propaganda equivocation: 'fact' [sic.]!

Indeed, just what are they saying, who so claim to have the facts? What ever can they be talking about? Indeed, it must make a huge difference, which sort of fact, by which of the eight distinct but then undifferentiated into obscurity linguistic meanings, let alone whether or not ever duly fact checked, so called, anyone may ever purport to have in their possession. -Not to mention, exactly how and in what sense such intangibles are ever in any way distinctly possessed.

Even the expression: to seek truth, is already problematically imprecise, not to be taken too literally. -For, to make a fine point, it is only knowledge of the truth that one may ever hope in any way or sense actually seek to possess...

Indeed, what then can it mean: to have the truth? Truth, after all, is correspondence to reality, in assertions. Only assertions can be more approximately or precisely true or else generally false, and possess or partake in any quality of truth, if one cares to put it that way. Hence, what we can attain or achieve, is not truth, but, to be precise, knowledge of truth, awareness of correspondence to reality in particular assertions.

And if indeed we do value truth and
knowledge thereof, then it well behooves us to beware! Whenever that vastly ambiguous and insidious, ill advised utterance of Orwellism: 'fact' [sic] is employed, how can such fine distinctions possibly be clearly expressed and saliently borne in mind?

For example, what is meant by assertion or claiming possession of the fact of God? Simply even to possess knowledge of God, would of necessity nevertheless forever remain however uncertain to mere fallible people. But as fact also can be synonymous with reality, the fact of God denotes real existence of God. Hence, possession of the 'fact' [sic] of God, purports to internalize the claimed external reality, perhaps even numinously: somehow or other thought to be perhaps supernatural direct contact and hence somehow privileged and inerrant knowledge without sensory intermediation of Empirical Phenomena. Because, otherwise, even whatever sort of hypothetical inner dwelling or manifesting divinity would be no more unquestionable than any other inner feature or event of mind, brain and body. Thusly, by just such flagrant conflation and question begging, the vaunted personal relationship with God, is zealously and dogmatically slammed shut to all but literal prima facie interpretation! -The latter exercise in sheer lunatic Sophistry presenting perhaps the most extreme possible confusion over the different and sometimes confusing senses of the very word: 'objective.'

10a) 'Fact' [sic.] or for that matter even knowledge, in the sense or claim of what is even however widely or expertly accepted or believed to be true, as to denote: correspondent to reality, may be deemed the least problematic so long as the uncertain conjecture thereof no matter how well corroborated or otherwise established, the risk of and propensity to truism or error otherwise and generally nevertheless, remain ever openly recognized nonetheless. 9b) And this holds no less even in raising the stakes by defining 'fact' [sic.]  as uncontroverited or even incontrovertible and singularly true, whether, as by implication, also discrete and even fairly concise. 9c) But if as in pertaining to privileged articles of faith, opinionation or belief is taken to indicate or even to confer truth, rather than hopes if truth ever emerging to be known and believed or opined, then transitively, fervent beliefs and articles of faith can be shamelessly included and numbered amongst 'facts' [sic.] ! The issue remains of any claims explicitly or implicitly of howsoever privileged assertions.

Indeed, 'fact' [sic.] being howsoever objective, therefore differentiated from mere opinion, does it then follow that objective people are not individual and opinionated or critical, but heteronymous and harmoniously united and loyal well above temptation, engagement and ensnarement into anything so shifting and fallible as controversy?

Yes, perhaps above all, the authoritatively evasive propaganda equivocation of purported 'fact' [sic.] claims privilege from doubt via cultivation of the illusion of innocent and trustworthy neutrality! Moreover, beyond deliberate obfuscation as in propaganda, there simply is no correct usage of the very word: 'fact' [sic.].

Indeed, for another example: "These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence." said US secretary of state Colin Powell in his address to the United Nations security council on Wednesday February 5, 2003 concerning the notorious alleged Iraqi WMD. But just what sort of facts where they? (Especially if they where not even assertions. Was it actually Powell's intention that these claims he presented did not in any way seek to represent reality let alone correspond thereto and possess truth value? Could he have been deliberately trying to slip in a clue to tip off the rest of world?) For in secular application no less than via Theology, the very word ‘fact’ [sic] exists only in order to foment confusion and smuggle blithe certitude in by the back door.

Indeed, is it any mere coincidence that, excluding the journalistic verification and background research that has come to be called: 'fact checking,' websites incorporating the very word 'fact' in their titles and/or URLs, so often tend to be so full of outright lies and empty name calling: claims made against assertions, said claims then left hanging without explanation or demonstration, let alone exposition as to their importance to begin with? 

9) Yes, indeed, most insidious and deceptive of all, comes that ninth distinct linguistic meaning, any implication in usage, whatsoever, of the word 'fact' [sic.] such as denoting or in any way somehow implying (patently impossible and unnecessary as this may be) a proven [sic.] (complete, total, positive) certainty -or else whatever conceivable unspecified and unclear manner of however validated, verified, privileged, authoritative or received a certitude surrogate of whatever sort, as if negating all risk so as to absolve all responsibility. For the very word ‘fact’ [sic] exists only in order to foment confusion and smuggle blithe certitude in by the back door. In truth, however, the usage of the very word 'fact' is so often no more than the slippery vagueness of eightfold ambiguity only paraded as anything however more solid, clear or distinct, yet all the more in service to the puerile evasion of any very thought howsoever of accountability. 'Fact' [sic.] which is supposed to be distinct, cut and dry, is actually vague, slippery and polysemic, a weasel word.

Although, in science, where certainty is only relative at best, some or other manner of preponderance of evidence (after whatever sufficiently rigorous process of elimination, refutation of alternative viable hypotheses) may even be deemed conclusive. But even that depends upon how high one sets the bar. However, even the most conclusive evidence may yet be over turned, and, frequently, even quite inconclusive hypotheses are better or best in so far as such may, nevertheless, still be even by far the more likely hypotheses more elegant or better supported by the preponderance of evidence available than whatever known competing hypotheses, despite remaining to whatever degree and by whatever standard inconclusive, than whatever known viable alternative or contrary hypotheses, even simply that whatever assertions in question might be somehow howsoever inaccurate, likewise inconclusive no less, so long as competing explanations remain open, serious and viable. For such is the ongoing burden of evidentiary support upon the positive, however much corroboration as and if available, but never verification.

Indeed, science neither recognizes nor requires (complete, total, positive) certainty, because, by implication, any Ontological claim of such (complete, total, positive) certainty must be proven. And, again, because there can be no absolute proof, proof positive, or proof at all, outside of Logic including Mathematics, wherein proof is only of validity, which is to say, theoretical logical internal consistency, and never of truth value, again, defined as correspondence to external reality which is never ascertainable by logical possibility alone without actually testing by Empirical observation and experiment always actually predicated upon systematic doubt, never axiomatic certainty. For abuse of the word: 'proof' outside of Logic, historically has served only to misguidedly imply a similar certainty to what are rightly entirely Empirical questions that by contrast to logical problems, can never be resolved a'priori.

Nevertheless, the very word 'fact' continues sneaking just such mythic "proof" in by the proverbial back door.  

Shades of Orwell! Old Joe Friday should get a big slap on the wrist and shut the fuck up!

How amazing that so called "facts" can be so ambiguous as to their precise nature and yet in any way ever claim certitude [sic.]!
sarcasm// Perhaps there is some however privileged transcendent principle as of intrinsic meaning involved //sarcasm

For the very weasel word ‘fact’ [sic.] exists only in order to foment confusion and smuggle blithe certitude in by the back door. Indeed, in case doubt is ever exposed, the veracity or interpretive emphasis of "disputed facts" may be contended or creeping error in whatever background information may even be attacked as "bad facts", all as if doubt, sheer credulity, where a special case, even an aberration or anomaly (even unpatriotic!) rather than a constant, perfectly healthy and responsible. For exactly such is the destructive chicanery that aims at the dishonest concealment of controversy.

Yet the nature of reasonable doubt, beyond which lies the aim of the highest standard for criminal conviction, remains perpetually controversial. Though in civil litigation the far lower burden is such as to be met either by a preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence. Questions of fact are distinct from questions of law. And under the law, facts, as distinguishable from suspicion, innuendo, supposition, fiction or mistake, are explicit and specific truth particularly as of pertinent circumstances, actual events past or ongoing, all as must be established at trial by presentation of evidence before a judge or jury.

Lawyers advance legal theories, while testimony is of recollection of events experienced, expert opinion, even surmise as to character from acquaintance. Nevertheless, the word: 'proof' is completely misapplied, utterly butchered, in legal parlance, to reiterate, in that there still is no absolute proof, proof positive, or proof at all, outside of Logic including Mathematics, wherein proof is only of validity, defined as theoretical logical internal consistency, and never of truth, again, defined as correspondence to external reality which is never ascertainable by logical possibility alone but only by investigation Empirically. Abuse of the word: 'proof' outside of Logic, historically has served only to misguidedly imply a similar certainty to what are rightly entirely Empirical questions that unlike logical problems, can never be resolved a'priori. And such very confusion continues to threaten our system of justice with confusion and miscarriage.

After all, given all these myriad types of fact [sic], facts [sic] may be entirely context dependant, particularly as in the details or embellishments in a complete fiction or outright lie! And most slippery where context is not clearly defined. Plainly, so called fact, which is supposed to clarify, only obscures. Instead, let us strive to be more honest and Metaphysically specific.

 

Understanding is explanatory abstraction enabling cogitation upon and employment of concepts effective and pertinent to whatever subject matter at hand. Explanation is of causation in context and likewise of consequence. Rational construction comes intermediate between objective reality and subjective perception and experience at all, the Phenomena, let alone abstract or practical comprehension.

Regardless of the territory (speaking metaphorically), whatever sort of (proverbial) map remains product, also, of whatever antecedent process of construction or way of perception or understanding, even however clear and accurate. Truth is correspondence to reality and knowledge is awareness thereof, entailing any understanding, likewise.

“In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.”  — Mary McCarthy

But even barring error outright, the incompleteness theorem plainly rules out any utterly reliable and totally adequate description, and Inductivist raw data without explanatory coherence can never give rise thereto. Such "fact" [sic!], by that very precept or definition, is nothing but an oxymoron of mythic numina, a fantasy of howsoever direct unpremeditated experienced contact with reality, even in spirit or essence!

No, rather, research to make sense of anything, assigns importance or at least focus, to some details of information over others. Indeed, honest and intelligent selection and configuration of whatever information deemed pertinent, remains indispensable, ever fallible and a daunting responsibility of autonomy. And so, the only thing that can ever be clever about dumbing things down, is despicably agile fraud!

“[Americans] do not know that facts are factitious, as their name suggests. It is in this belief in facts, in the total credibility of what is done or seen, in this pragmatic evidence of things and an accompanying contempt for what may be called appearances or the play of appearances... that the Americans are a true utopian society, in their religion of the fait accompli, in the naivety of their deductions, in their ignorance of the evil genius of things.” (85)

  — Jean Baudrillard 'America' Trans. Chris Miller. London: Verso, 1988.

Knowledge is only structured in the mind. Meaning does not preexist externally, but must be assigned. Otherwise, comprehension and discovery are impossible. For though the range of possible untruth remains infinite, there remain always many different strategies for adequate or better expression, comprehension let alone communication, of truth, featuring: selected details, emphasis and perspective, all towards howsoever adequate representations of reality; but never, outside the hypothetical mind of God, any actually comprehensive Zen meditation upon, let alone whatever futile attempt at expression or communicative transmission, of any totality of being, the senses of objectivity remaining, or so we must hope, ever distinct. 

Indeed, if expression were possible such as to embrace any totality of being, would this even be desirable? Certainly, if such were not only possible but accepted as mandatory as in the Zen, what good would that do? In truth, anything salient ever to be said of anything or anyone, must be howsoever particular and in whatever narrowed context. Therefore, it is better to celebrate that to mourn or to deny even howsoever mere human understanding in all limitation and constraint.

Thus the very reason "facts" [sic!] allegedly the very material of knowledge, even it would seem quite sans much of interpretive comprehension, are considered the height of unbiased objectivity because they are regarded as discrete, inherent and fundamental, rather than being howsoever questionably constructed, let alone contingent. And hence, as authoritatively certain as "facts" are made out to be, such that none ever need delve any deeper, thus, at the same time, even the usage at all of the very word 'fact' becomes an actual repudiation of Ontology and an utter rejection of Epistemological Methodology.

And in the words of Bliss Carman, "What are facts but compromises? A fact merely marks the point where we have agreed to let investigation cease." -Which is to say that facts are so-called "common wisdom," more truism, wherein common simply denotes ubiquitousness of frequent habitual repetition, deliberate consciously propagandistic or blithely unawares, and hence, often, whatever any wisdom, entirely debatable. Hence, so-called "facts" [sic!] may often be less objective or clear than simply memetic, sheer blithe transmission of habit. And stridently demanding that any assertion is "fact" [sic!] is nothing but browbeating in similar though unilateral demarcation. But saying doesn't make it so. Starting assumptions or premise should be so named, being as they are indispensable and contingent to intelligibility and inquiry, and hence and no sin. Indeed, by the most reasonable and narrow definition of fact, fact states either what is generally accepted as true, or reality as objectively measurable or Empirically corroborated, even if never actually verifiable.

Yet common wisdom and objective or Empirical supportability remain two entirely different criteria. And there remains, likewise, a marked and vast distinction indeed, between consensus building and the quest for truth defined as correspondence with reality in assertions, indeed, the awareness of the latter, and nothing else or less, constituting knowledge. Common wisdom is at very best, a reasonable starting point and no more.

And the very reason facts [sic!] are considered the height of unbiased objectivity because they are regarded as discrete, inherent and fundamental, so reliable as to stand unquestioned and treated as inherently privileged, nigh transcendental, is because facts [sic!] may be such as are stated as allegedly clear simple unadulterated discrete and even somehow thereby privileged units of information such as stand without subjectivity, conjecture, perspective, explanation, relevant interpretation or need of contingent complication or background. In other words,  'facts' [sic!]  are crystal clear, too simple for any confusion and hence beyond doubt, not despite but actually because they are taken superficially and entirely out of context and vastly oversimplified! -As if even correct information has never been misinterpreted, much less deliberately taken out of context. Oh no, perish the thought, never! It's what the facts [sic!] say, and the facts [sic!] never lie, so the foolish saying goes. Indeed, to quote Nietzsche: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Moreover, assuming that these  'facts' [sic!], whatever they are, are meaningful, then that might explain part of the confusion, if meaning is ever mistaken as Ontological, objectively real and somehow intrinsic, rather than subjectively Phenomenal. Meaning and understanding, after all, are created, generated or occur, in the mind, even if subjective experience is seen as part of and participation in, whatever larger events experienced. For truth distilled of structure yields only knowledge bereft of understanding, out of context and pointless. Indeed, even knowledge is but the state of awareness of truth, truth itself remaining distinct from correspondent external reality.

After all, only in sympathetic magic are correspondence or connection (or similarity and contiguity) thought in any manner or degree to lessen distinction and identity. Indeed, are  'facts' [sic!], then, somehow and in some sense inherent rather than being relational or contingent? How, then, can such so called  facts [sic!] ever be true? After all, truth is not self contained. Rather, truth is correspondence to reality in assertions, a matter of Methodological empirical Epistemology, unlike like validity (defined as internal consistency of expressions), logical derivable, even in a vacuum.

Facts are factitious, derivative and constructed in every way. And truth distilled of structure yields only knowledge bereft of understanding, out of context and pointless. Yet the myth, unexamined, survives, as to the Reductionist innate and intrinsic basic intrinsic constituency and even objectivity of 'facts' [sic.], so allegedly privileged.

'Psychology as a science of critical evaluation' is an attack upon exactly such Inductivist
Reductionism in the field of Psychology, concluding in it's own definition of 'fact,' constituting a good observation, as will be demonstrative, subtly gone awry:

“Psychology, if it is to be a science, must take its function to be that of describing actual facts. These facts are not existing objects or conditions, which await reception; neither are they assumptions imposed upon the experience studied. A fact, for the psychologist, as well as for every scientist, must be the most critical determination of existential conditions, and an evaluation of some phase of genuine experience. It is always a knowledge construct, and is more or less valuable for purposes of control and understanding, as it keeps in contact with actually existing circumstances. One of the first essentials of a scientific attitude is non-sectarianism. This makes for a determination of phenomena on their own merits. They are not strained to conform to a pre-conceived notion of what ought to exist in the domain under discussion. The evaluation function of the scientific level of experience is experience conscious of itself. It should therefore give an accurate account of its development.”

So, according to William S. Verplanck, exactly how is it that fact [sic.] "keeps in contact with actually existing circumstances"? What ever can that possibly mean (aside, of course, that the very word: 'fact' here is not employed simply as a direct synonym for real circumstance)? Keeping contact with existing circumstances, or to employ the same metaphor as more commonly worded: maintaining a grip on reality, is an ongoing enterprise over time. For what is most specifically desired from investigative effort, is to elicit, trigger or bring about such causal connection between ongoing reality and scientific results as achieving any measure of what might even be described as communication (literally: informative transmission and circulation of substance via physical contact) with the real world. In other words, Epistemologically sound howsoever Empirical Methodology. This requires that as events unfold and change occurs, the observing scientist strives to keep in the know. But also, that, even regardless of the need for longitudinal data, knowledge being imperfect, must change, grow and improve.

Indeed, according to Verplanck, ;fact' [sic.] "is always a knowledge construct, and is more or less valuable for purposes of control and understanding". And why does the precise mind of a scientist wax all so poetical except wrestling, desperately, with the vague, tortured and convoluted chimerical notion of 'fact' [sic.] ? Because no usage of the word: 'fact' wherein no better and more precise synonym may be derived from context, can ever be rationally lucid or linguistically meaningful. Therefore, let us only remove the very word: 'fact,' and instantly discover how much clearer the entire expression will become! Thus, in other words, then: Knowledge is constructed in order to glean understanding in order, in turn, to facilitate better control in the further conduct of scientific investigation. Just as a simple matter of writing style, see what lucidity accrues only by unraveling any thoughts so painfully ensnarled about the hazy concept of fact [sic.] and eliminating the needless and confounding ambiguity of that very word.

Indeed, in debating the qualifications for science and critical determination of Existential conditions, the real question becomes Epistemological, and what Verplanck is really concerned with is the need for broad Ontological context from prior knowledge of reality, knowledge being awareness of truth and truth being correspondence to reality in assertions. - said knowledge of reality, here named 'fact' simply because even knowledge must be conjectured and factitiously constructed. Alas, and nevertheless, not all so-called 'fact' is truth (correspondence to reality) let alone knowledge (awareness of truth), no matter the factitiousness even of knowing. 'Fact,' so-called, then, still demands critical evaluation as any other assertion. No starting point is ever secure, but at best only at all reasonable and honest.

So-called 'fact,' then, is still often nothing but assertion, pretending somehow some other howsoever privileged category, unstated. We must still strive to glean knowledge, awareness of truth ('truth' denoting correspondence to reality), by the ongoing elimination of error, of so called 'facts,' constructs however mistaken for, or fobbed of as, knowledge. Only in just such oft Quixotic striving may we ever gain the perspective of Socratic wisdom gauging the scope of our own ignorance, thus abandoning the smug provincial stupidity of  fact [sic!]. 

Actually, the contrived superficiality of so-called 'facts' is as unduly and blithely biased as can be, shielded from refutation by concealment of vital enlightening controversy only appropriate to the universal conjectural nature of all assertion or claim to truth. Indeed, ostensibly factual superficiality without analytic comprehension, is at best among the least reliable means by which to derive viable hypothesis for understanding of the world, or at worst, a most slippery and calculated lying by omission.

The myth of truth arising via the compilation of data without prejudicial bias, therefore without direction of guiding hypothesis, even however tentative, is Inductivism, which never really works and never will.

The mythic freedom from error of the authoritative stance has been shown to be false and irresponsible. Not only can so called facts be chosen and spun into whatever sheer Sophistry at will, but, indeed, in any case, information must be filtered, selected and interpreted in order to become intelligible at all, even to scratch the very surface!

'Fact' [sic.] is often so blithely and sharply differentiated from opinion, here perhaps meaning analytic or synthetic evaluation. But actually and intrinsically, all assertions are both opinion and claim of truth value. -and no less so without apology! And, after all, at whatever risk of error and even bias of subjectivity, analytic or synthetic evaluation of information compiled, only strives to come closer to truth by means of refutation, process of elimination narrowing the range of viable hypothesis. Hence, what are so-called facts [sic], or else how are they privileged, that such facts [sic] are not also opinions or perhaps more than mere or even "pure" opinions that are, presumably, the antithesis of fact [sic]?

Indeed, for that matter, just what in Hell is: "pure opinion"? What, by contrast, do unpopular opinions ever feel lonely, become naughty and behave with base and impure moral turpitude? After all, even the most unpopular opinions still seem to blend and propagate! Seriously though, presumably a pure opinion has nothing factual [sic]. But strictly speaking and by definition, can even the most fanciful flight of whimsy actually be so bereft? What notion is there that can ever be so entirely original and without worldly antecedent? In truth, tautologically, all assertions remain in their entirety, both opinion and claims of truth. There is no degree of opinion as versus content of justification or foundation by whatever quantifiable percentage. All hypotheses begin as utterly unfounded conjecture, only subject to critical preference, let alone Empirical scrutiny, all thereafter. Only thus via evolutionary Epistemology do fitter hypotheses survive, and the less fit fall by the wayside.

Hence, opinion is no extrinsic impunity ever to be processed out and away from so-called facts [sic] ! Rather, opinion is the gestation process of perhaps testable hypothesis out from sheer fantasy. For the truth will never simply arise from accumulated so-called facts [sic] by induction. Only the explanatory power of contextual bias of one kind or another renders even the most direct Empirical experience intelligible at all. Objective reality may well need no such assistance, but human perception and comprehension most certainly do! Science, after all, depends not only upon accuracy but upon clear presentation.

10?) Perhaps fact then, is truth that defies awareness thereof, being so refined of humanizing presentation as thereby to become humanly unknowable for sheer lack of relation and relevance all systematically stripped away! -Truth transcendent of knowledge, thus too perfect and Heavenly for any Earthly good!

Indeed, the so called and vaunted impartiality of short attention span infotainment news media only strips events of context, background and therefore whatever hope and reassurance of a subjectively meaningful and therefore comprehensible universe wherein therefore rational action might ever help even to reduce harm. Indeed, far from providing whatever blandly authoritative reassurance at least ostensibly intended, the unacknowledged meaningless ambiguity of just such cursory blandly pseudo-objective news coverage of ongoing senseless calamity and horror is known to contribute to mounting tension and dystress, across the population, life long. -A far, far cry from the abiding responsibility that strives for and encourages by example, any sort of genuine objectivity or quasi-scientific journalistic integrity, indeed as best possible for any field work outside of controlled laboratory conditions, ever striving no less, at ongoing self correction and improvement.

The hapless terrified viewers, with no clues for responsibly constructing opinions of their own autonomously and no hint of any agenda foisted upon them, therefore without recourse save heteronomously to trust the seemingly competent and reliable news presenters, are now ripe for propaganda suggestion to fill the void, indeed the most insidious form of propaganda being whatever prevailing and blithely unexamined assumptions and lack of doubt and imagination by which the sheeple are all so oppressed without resistance, the unexamined life not worth the living.

Indeed, the very pompously portentous brain-dead notion that any processed data whatsoever is thereby in virtue thereof automatically ennobled or becomes at all meaningful, much less in any sense actually true, is finally taken as lightly as it deserves in most opportune parody deconstruction via the notorious MTV factoid, items of trivia subjected to humorous arbitrary correlations interjected at will into the most inane Popup Videos. For factoids, particularly as manifesting in the press, are generally specious, ranging from the spurious and untrue, unverified, incorrect, simply mistaken or fabricated outright, to the true but trivial and therefore of little value, surviving if at all, only as truism or truthiness, memetically. And any assay of value via distinction between triviality and pertinence all demands reference to background for context well beyond sheer induction, and not just error checking for verification of correct and even at all reliable citation of information sources.

Likewise, simply as a matter of clear writing style, such sloppy and needlessly cumbersome indirect lackluster circumlocution of tortured literary in to "spaghetti scaffolding" as "the fact that" can be and all to often are thrown about without the moment's care it takes to work out the actual intended subject and object of a sentence, in other words, without the bother to identify specifically and intelligibly whatever it may be that one endeavors to speak or write of, and how one aspect, signified by a noun, relates to any other, as signified by a verb.

For example: "His situation might have been most dire save for the fact that he was lucky enough to find allies" instead of "He'd been doomed where it not for his great luck in finding allies." Because the real topic is not "the fact" [sic.], whatever the fuck that means, but his luck. Nor is any conceivable measure or adequacy of his luck any real concern, but that alliance was/is fortuitous.

Indeed, cumbersome and indirect expressions the likes of "the fact that" tend not only to lend themselves to the passive voice, but in such the worst way as to obscure literal responsibility by displacing the active verbs, needlessly complicating while actually impoverishing prose rather than truly enriching it, even though throwing about such fuzzy expressions as "the fact that" seems so handy and may be so much easier to do than investing a moment's effort and concentration in attaining the clarity to correct oneself and better rephrase by adequately and properly grasping whatever genuine operant relationships between the different elements of prose in turn reflecting whatever actual relationships between whatever whatever the words signify or correspond to in reality or even hypothetically, as ever such relationships may actually come into effect, contextually.

Here the very word 'fact' plunges to it's depths of authoritatively meaningless ambiguity and bluster, as in the expression "the fact of the matter", signifying the definite nonspecific state of affairs of whatever particular nonspecific state of affairs, Ontologically. At least the common and simple impersonal pronoun 'it' remains undisguisedly unspecific, but without the needless and pointless recursion.

And how is "the fact" [sic] of anything whatsoever at all distinct from whatever existence or occurrence indicated by linguistically referencing thereof in the first place? Indeed, Perhaps the best synonym for the very word 'fact' in all of it's similarly muddled and convoluted fraud, is most readily encountered careening down the rabbit hole into Heidegger's weird world of 'dasein' or recursive being of being.

Because any usage of the very word: 'fact' such as where a more precise synonym cannot be derived from context, is, of necessity, ambiguously unclear, whether by blithe omission or by conniving propaganda design, therefore there simply can be no correct usage of the very word 'fact,' save, perhaps, unless aforesaid deliberately confusing and misleading propagandistic abuse. To reiterate, no usage of the constructed Orwellism: 'fact' can actually be correct except to deception, in the sense of correct application of purposely misleading intentional vagueness.

Moreover, if a separate referent absitively posolutly must be had for all that the sentence as a whole is already descriptive in the first place, then there are still better and more elegantly salient utterances, such as the "phenomena [lower case] of" or "the happenstance that" or better still "the manner in which" or, most simply and self sufficiently, the very words alone, 'how' or even 'that.' -As in "His situation might have been most dire save (for) that he was lucky enough to survive because he found allies." "The cause of his survival where the allies that he came upon so fortuitously."

However the simplest: "Luckily, he survived by finding allies." -remains readily derivable, simply from the bother to identify specifically and intelligibly whatever it may be that one endeavors to speak or write of, and how one aspect, signified by a noun, relates to any other, as signified by a verb, in this case the noun 'he' signifying some person, followed by the appropriate conjugation of the verb: 'to survive' denoting the continuation of his life even in the face of whatever adversity.

Or for still another example: "It thus seems that the fact even that we are in dispute over so many questions, so many of which are fundamental, is itself a fundamental fact." may be less tortuously rendered: "Thus seemingly even that we are in dispute over so many questions, so many being fundamental, is itself fundamental." Or: "It seems that the dispute in the field, over numerous questions so many even being fundamental, already in and of itself, could hardly be more fundamental."

For if one obdurately must insist upon sentence formulation redeploying the verbs of whatsoever occurrence as ever transpires under any whatever conditions as nouns in denoting the existence of any whatever circumstances, instead of "the fact that" [sic.], serviceable and more elegantly literate alternatives might include: "being as," "being that" or even "being as that." Therefore:

11!) Nothing is to be gained, and everything needlessly risked, by mangling simple assertion that such is so, by appeal to (whatever the Hell) the fact [sic.] that such is so, indeed howsoever at all as predicate.

Indeed, if 'fact' [sic.], like 'dasein,' or indeed: it-ness, is merely existence, being, as a predicate, then why not simply concede the Ontological tautology that: that what is, is, and thereby steer entirely clear of any such neo-Heideggerian weird world of perfidious antirational syntaxic obfuscation as is-ness, the quality or being of being at all? Is fact [sic.], then, Heideggerian is-ness? More lucidly phrased, Heidegger splits hairs to the effect that existence or being there, refers not to whatever exists but the the way or manner in which anything existent, exists. And the fine distinction may yet obtain on the cutting edge of physics, where questions may yet obtain as to the way or perhaps even some contingent manner in which the universe exists, indeed beyond antecedent causality either beginning only from the Big Bang onward or else howsoever regressing backwards infinitely. Indeed, we are already confronted with the inadequacy of known logical causality at the limits of chronological regression or else by the very lack thereof. Nevertheless, existence is not a predicate, because existence or occurrence remains self inalienable, thus no less than daseinic is-ness, the very word 'fact' [sic.] is likewise worse than redundant, deplorably obscurantist and well overdue for retirement from usage at all, much less slippery propaganda certitude surrogacy. For, no less than how Heidegger's expression: 'dasein' weirdly and fantastically denotes some manner of existence or being even howsoever implicitly Mystical yet perhaps nevertheless operant within space-time, all not only free of and distinct from antecedent causation but all legitimate scientific questions thereof, the very word fact [sic] likewise exists only in order to foment confusion and smuggle blithe certitude in by the back door, by blurring every crucial Metaphysical distinction between proverbial map and metaphorical territory along with the boundaries between abstract Logic and Empirical science, all, as we may recall, by extension from traditional abuse of the concept of: proof, and thereby perhaps even likewise daisenically or Theologically into the the explanation of the known via the unknown, indeed, at least allegedly, the mysterious and unknowable? -never mind precisely how... instead of perseverant endeavor and optimistic striving towards scientific explanation even of unknown origination in terms of the known, even in modern cosmology under pressure from the increasing inadequacy of known logical causality at the limits of chronological regression or else by the very lack thereof.

If the leaf is green, then the green of the leaf is in the leaf itself, indeed, from the reflective wavelength of the chlorophyll, a function of the ratio of wavelength absorption and reflection such as humanly perceived within the range of the visual green. The word 'is', conjugation of the verb (or pseudo-verb): 'to be,' merely serves as a conjunction of the adverb: 'green' descriptive of the leaf in its property of color, specifically, the color green, to the noun: 'leaf' that indicates the leaf itself. Nothing can be, without being particularly something rather than anything else. At any given time, the leaf must be transparent, opaque, or any translucency in between, and if not transparent, then of any specific color or colors or else others. Indeed, being may be thought of in general, because anything can be said if all that exists, especially tautologically. Nevertheless, being will never be anything so broad and general as to be alienable from the particulars of whatever specifically exists or occurs. The leaf is, in that the leaf is all that it is, in form, color and substance. Beings are entities that exist. There is no distinction.

A predicate is a term designating a property or relation, the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb, making statement in declarative assertion regarding the subject of a sentence, argument or proposition. The verb predicates as pertaining to its subject. To predicate can even mean to predict, in so far as assertion is predictive. To predicate can mean to found or to base. That which is predicated, may be dependent upon whatever predicate, whatever conditions by which anything else is or becomes possible. To predicate also means to state or affirm as an attribute or quality of whatever the subject, to imply, connote or affirm. But what can predicate that which does not already first exist? Existence is not a predicate.

Indeed, the leaf exists independently of perception thereof, let alone the use of language in common between those thereof endowed. The word: 'is' serves only to direct attention to whatever specific qualities, modes of existence, of whatever particular subject of the utterance or written expression, much as the generality of pronoun: 'it' in context, serves only to indicate anything in particular howsoever already specified hither to. What predicate can there be to what does not already first exist? Indeed, there is no way for the leaf to be what it is, no way for anything to exist at all, no being of the leaf, otherwise, discrete from the leaf existing in all the particulars of what it is, (only antecedent events whereby the leaf came about. Which, again, presents such a problem because: What happened before the universe began? Or if there is no beginning of time, then why are the conditions in and of the universe such as they are rather than howsoever otherwise? Not to digress, however...).

Likewise, with that fraudulent noun form: 'fact' [sic!]. Again, is 'fact' [sic!] daseinic? For what is there additionally indicated by alleging the 'fact' [sic!] of whatever? Indeed, again, 'fact' [sic!] of what, amid the nine distinct usages of 'fact' [sic!]? -let alone the most flagrantly Verificationist propaganda abuse...

11a) Or indeed does Heidegger finally abandon the quest for being as a predicate Ontologically? After all, being is an abstract generality applicable to the class of all that can conceivably exist, and yet no tangible meaning for the very word: 'is' can endure without an object being one way and not another in particular. So instead, Heidegger focuses upon how nevertheless usage of the word: 'is' bears such great importance in thought and communication, indeed as Heidegger remarks:  "language speaks man." And controversy continues to rage, for in the alternative to assertion of being as a predicate, indeed another possible interpretation of Heidegger's Ontological Phenomenology (!?), might be that Heidegger's Ontological Phenomenology is Heidegger's misnomer for more properly a cognitive Phenomenology so that 'dasein', the manner or mode of being, is not truly meant as mode of being in reality Ontologically, but mode of apprehension Phenomenologically and cognitively, merely referring then to the concept in the mind of anything in particular, instead of either it's physical being or the sensory perception alone thereof, because sheer physiological perception alone, as in any mere agglomeration of Lockean secondary characteristics or perceived attributes as for example optically perceived color as distinct from primary attributes such as actual reflected wavelengths of light etc. from solid objects, remains explanatorily inadequate regarding the apprehension of distinct Phenomena of events, objects and people etc. In which case 'dasein' or objects of perception, are simply ideas or conjecture in perception, in a word: interpretation, because after all perception is theory laden. That is why Nietzsche admonishes: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

So could such perhaps also likewise constitute yet another tortured shade of usage for the word 'fact' [sic.]?  Is all of that, then, what 'fact' [sic.] are? Are 'facts' [sic.] objects of Heideggerian  Ontological Phenomenology (!?), of Kantian structured awareness, abstraction loaded Popperian theory laden interpretive perception? (And Heidegger a Protagorean, a proto-Popperian? Or much as even with any cogent problems of Post Modernism, does it all simply finally make any more sense, when reevaluated and restated from Popperian lucidity?) Since we even must pose such question, therefore usage of the very word: 'fact' [sic.]  must be acknowledged as perilously unclear, not to mention: unnecessary so, simply because we can always do better to more clearly and simply specify and distinguish between existence, idea, perception, knowledge and so on.

12?) "You’re a fixed point in time, you’re a fact." [sic.] In perspective of the fictional continuity or, dare say: Time Lord historiography of 'Dr. Who,' a BBC Science Fiction / Fantasy TV series drama about a time traveler, with whatever all else ever in flux (and, presumably therefore open to conjecture), a fixed point in time (or: fact) is any past or future historical event or detail thereof, with ramifications such that must not and cannot be altered without the risk of significantly changing history, the cosmos and destiny. All typical and ever characteristic nonsense spoken with conviction, as ever, by the ever charmingly somewhat choleric protagonist of the show, referred to mysteriously only as: the Doctor. -but I ask you: actually, to be fair, any more so than as in common usage of all the other fluid and mendaciously chimerical definitions of 'fact' [sic.]? Allons-y! Geronimo!

 

All thus has the confusion over these distinctions between proverbial map and metaphorical territory actually deteriorated to the point of entering and muddling what is already so often among our most cumbersome baggage, common language itself. But with the most basic vocabulary and jargon of Metaphysics clearly, precisely and simply defined as here on this page, much such confusion may perhaps ever be ameliorated.

Indeed, t'would seem that even given free choice between them big four dollar words and just two bit monosyllables, ya' still gets what ya' pays for! So say what you mean, mean what you say, shell out the two bucks and don't be two bit!

Learn thy 'ologies!     

Copyright Aaron Agassi, 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

 

 


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UPDATE: As of 6/6'04 this very page appears to have been plagiarized by collegeresearch.us