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Re: [ontolog-forum] Social interaction and teamwork

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 11:19:38 -0400
Message-id: <4FDB528A.8080900@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Len, William, and Doug,    (01)

> Nietzsche once said "... the are no facts, only interpretations".    (02)

I enjoy reading Nietzsche.  He had many good insights and the ability
to state them in ways that are memorable and stimulate the imagination.
But this example illustrates a typical literary technique:  a play on
two (or more) different senses of a word.    (03)

If you type "define fact" to Google, you get    (04)

> 1. A thing that is indisputably the case.
> 2. Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.    (05)

This summarizes the two principal senses of the word 'fact'.
Other dictionaries will state more details and variations.    (06)

As definition #1 says, a fact is a *thing* -- i.e., something in
the world that may be directly observable or indirectly detectable.    (07)

A fact that a cat is on a mat is an observable *thing*.  But a fact
about English usage is a *thing* that can only be detected by gathering
and *interpreting* evidence (word sense #2).    (08)

So Nietzsche's point is correct in sense #2 of the word 'fact', but
not in sense #1.    (09)

> Ah, yet another fact.  Is Nietzsche rolling over in his grave?    (010)

No.  He loved to stimulate, annoy, provoke, and antagonize people.
He knew exactly what he was doing, and he would laugh at this thread.    (011)

> The discussion has switched from facts to statements.  Facts are states
> of the world (or properties of defined systems such as mathematics).
> Statements are encodings whose meanings may be (intended to be)
> facts.    (012)

Yes.  That is a shorter summary of my explanation.  But I wanted to
emphasize that there are facts about language usage.  Those facts
are not directly observable, but they can be detected by analyzing
(and interpreting) many examples of written and/or spoken language.    (013)

John    (014)

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