It seems to me that some questions concerning "facts" are missing.
1. Who (and when) declared some statement as a fact?
2. If someone declared something a fact, can't humans (or actor)
make subjective errors?
3. What is the life duration of a specific fact?
4. In what situation was the fact true?
5. What is the audience or community for that fact?
It seems to me that facts should be treated as signals in a
communication system first. They must be communicated faithfully and
the communication system must be capable of communicating any signal
for which the system was designed. The system should only qualify
and reject signals (facts) that are beyond its capabilities to
communicate. In essence, a fact communicating system contains a
When a signal is received, the information from the signal can be
extracted and processed further. Facts in isolation are meaningless
statements. They are intended for use by a community. Even when
stored for later use, signals and facts should have information
associated with them that grounds them or provides hints on their
If we are talking about an individual knowing or retaining facts
then there is an issue of garbage collection. For a universal
system, such as a knowledge web, the management of a collection of
facts should be viewed differently.
Concord, MA USA
On 5/23/2012 7:20 AM, Christopher Menzel wrote:
Sez you. What's your theory of facts? What's a beholder? What's a
label? You can't just pull stuff like this out of thin air and
expect it to be meaningful.
On May 23, 2012, at 12:59 AM, William Frank wrote:
This is a question that could lead to a
lot of different threads, that could be amusing or
troublesome, and maybe some thread that might be enlightening.
One, that has been brought up below, is the fact that facts
are slippery things: what people believe is true, what they
are so sure about, they are willing to call it a fact, does
not mean it IS true. Back to the theory of knowlege, which
does not seem to fair well in this forum, with the total
relativists among us seeming to believe (inconsistently) that
a fact itself is "just" what somebody believes,
Then they are, as you suggest, confusing facts with
beliefs. But I think there are very few people in this forum
who are that confused.
Another is how do you **count** facts?
For almost 40 years, in the mid last century, started by
Russel and Wittgenstein's idea of an atomic fact, carried
forward by Carnap, might have suggested a way. For example,
take the fact that I have 10 toes, and i know this is true, at
least the last time I looked. Then, there are other facts
that I know on reflection, such as that I have at least 3
toes, and that I do not have exactly 7 toes, and that I have
fewer that 11 toes. In fact, going forward, we have an
**infinite** number of facts: for each n, the fact that I have
fewer than n toes, where n is greater than 10. I think the
atomic facts in question are 10 in number, that I have toe 1,
toe 2, etc. The problem with this is that atomic facts are
based, as Mathew Lange says, on relationships between known
entities, and how do we count these? The foot, the toes, the
26 bones in the foot, the 356 blood vessels?
These are all reasonable questions and observations, but
they don't show that there is anything inherently vague or
intractable about facts. Compare the situation in set theory.
In the early history of set theory there were analogous
questions: Can sets contain themselves as members? Are there
infinite sets? Is there a set of all sets? A set of all
cardinal numbers? Can all sets be well-ordered? Relative to
one or another theory of sets, all of these questions have
clear answers. Likewise, if you want facts in your ontology,
you need a theory of facts that will generate clear answers
and serve your purposes.
On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 2:28 PM,
LaVern Pritchard <lavern@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
The number of known facts is unknowable because a fact
is in the eye of the beholder or a label,
Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J