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Re: [ontolog-forum] Social interaction and teamwork

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 02:08:00 -0400
Message-id: <4FDC22C0.5000302@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ed,    (01)

Yes.  Trying to draw fine verbal distinctions from a translation gets
bogged down in the "fact" that every translation is an interpretation.    (02)

Len Y:
>>> Nietzsche once said "... the are no facts, only interpretations".    (03)

>> But this example illustrates a typical literary technique:  a play on
>> two (or more) different senses of a word.    (04)

> The problem with this idea is that Nietzsche wrote in German, and the
> play on words in that language may well exist (Nietzsche was fond of
> such things), but it is unlikely to be the same.    (05)

I don't know Nietzsche's original statement, but German has sufficient
resources to make a distinction between something in the world and
a statement about it.    (06)

For the word 'fact' as used in translations from Wittgenstein, consider
the first two sentences of the _Tractatus_.  In English:    (07)

  1  The world is everything that is the case.
  1.1  The world is the totality of facts, not of things.    (08)

The original German:    (09)

  1  Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
  1.1  Die Welt is die Gesamtheit der Tatsachen, nicht der Dinge.    (010)

The word 'Tatsache', which is translated as 'fact', is definitely not
a statement.  It's composed of two nouns, 'Tat' (translated variously
as deed, action, act, or fact) and 'Sache' (translated as thing, cause,
action, case, matter, affair, business, concern, event, fact, or
circumstance).    (011)

Those translations come from _Heath's New German Dictionary_.    (012)

Going the other way from English to German, the same dictionary
lists the following translations for 'fact':  Tat, Handlung,
and Wirklichkeit.  None of them are statements.    (013)

For the phrase 'matter of fact', it gives the translation Tatsache.    (014)

I don't know what Nietzsche wrote, but it's unlikely that he would
have equated any of those words with an interpretation.  He probably
used some word that means "a statement intended to be considered true".    (015)

I would agree that any statement about the world that is intended to
be factual is somebody's interpretation of the "facts of the matter".    (016)

Scientists (or at least philosophers of science) emphasize that
every statement about an observation or a measurement is
"theory laden" because the words (or symbols) used to express it
are based on some theory.    (017)

That point is just as true for German words as English words.    (018)

John    (019)

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