• DanLager
    25
    Countering that with "no you didn't" isn't particularly effective. If you want to convince someone that their religious experience is not what they think it is, you have to offer them a different framework, and indeed people sometimes come to see their own experiences in a different light.Srap Tasmaner

    Indeed, I came to the conclusion they exist, being a particle physicist and former atheist. But it's their creation that I like the best.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    It is only inaccessible as a practical matter, but if determination of the truth is not possible then that still rules out the definition that Olivier5 gave that a fact is an accurate observation it seems.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k


    And one way of treating it as a factual question, not necessarily the only one, or the way a philosopher might.
  • Banno
    14.2k
    Unfortunately, I have to go and Do The Things today, a day on which a long post is needed.

    But I might drop a link here to an article that came up in an earlier thread in determinism.

    Indeterminism, causality and information: Has physics ever been deterministic?

    There is an exact figureTom Storm

    ...maybe not.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k


    That's his problem. I think we can talk coherently about things we have no hope of knowing. (How tall was Socrates?)
  • Janus
    10.7k
    (How tall was Socrates?)Srap Tasmaner

    Good example. The whole of history, both natural and human, seems to fall into this category too.
  • DanLager
    25
    But I might drop a link here to an article that came up in an earlier thread in determinism.

    Indeterminism, causality and information: Has physics ever been deterministic?
    Banno

    Physics has always been deterministic. The wavefunction evolves determined. It collapses non-unitarily but hidden variables can rescue determinism and even offer a way for God to interact with his creation.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    But is it inaccessible in principle, or only as a practical matter?Srap Tasmaner

    It's physically impossible.
  • Joshs
    1.9k
    hidden variables can rescue determinism and even offer a way for God to interact with his creation.DanLager

    Do you think God interacts with his creation?
  • DanLager
    25
    Do you think God interacts with his creation?Joshs

    I hope not! Their creation alone suffices for me. But hidden variables could offer a means.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    This has always struck me. How many leaves are there on the trees in my state right now? There is an exact figure but we cannot access this.Tom Storm

    There is an exact figure — Tom Storm


    ...maybe not.
    Banno

    Intuitively I agree with you Tom; but I'll be interested to see a counter-argument. I'll read Banno's linked article when I have time.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k


    Need two criteria first, for "in the yard" and "blade". If it's bounded by sidewalks, maybe, that's your first one. Maybe length for the second, whatever. Without those, there's nothing to do. If you have those, the only tricky part is working through an irregularly arranged collection like this, and the usual trick is to just go by adjacency and mark what you've done so you don't get lost. (You could count the number of spaces on a paint-by-number this way.) Marking would also allow you to work in parallel with many others to speed up the task.

    If I were smart I could come up with a design for a machine to do it, but the low-tech way should work. It'll just take a while.

    Problem?
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Problem?Srap Tasmaner

    Well, yes, probably my clarity - I was talking about every tree leaf in my home state - this is an area of 141327.149 square miles.

    We're not even able to locate every tree, let alone leaf.

    Solution?
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k


    That is appreciably more work!

    I don't know. It's an odd thing, the physical limitation. The number of possible chess games, for instance, is clearly a large but finite number. I used to hear that the number was larger than the number of atoms in the known universe. (No idea how anyone figured that out.) But playing through every possible game -- and finally figuring out if chess is a draw or white wins! -- is something that, as they say in the theory of computation, Zeus could do. (Unlike counting the real numbers, say.)

    I suppose one way to approach the simple question of whether there is an exact number of leaves in your state would be to take just one tree -- a nice small one! -- and count the leaves. You'll get a number. And then you argue that the total number is the sum of the numbers you would get for each tree by doing the same. You can't get them, there are just two many physical obstacles, but you can prove that a single tree does have an exact number of leaves at a given moment, and other trees are like this one in the respects that matter, therefore they will all have an exact number of leaves.

    And as @Olivier5 pointed out, there are sound statistical techniques for estimating this sort of thing, if for some reason you need an actual number. My simple little argument only shows that there's nothing incoherent -- to me, anyway -- about talking about such a number we'll never be able to know.

    Is there something I'm missing?

    Insofar as the framework business is playing a role here, it's obviously in how we define tree, leaf, leaf of a tree (so not the leaves of vines climbing on the tree), state boundaries, how counting works, blah blah blah. There's a lot, but I think all of it together is consistent with treating "number of leaves on all the trees in my state" as theoretical quantity whose value we happen not to be able to determine.
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    if determination of the truth is not possible then that still rules out the definition that Olivier5 gave that a fact is an accurate observation it seems.Janus

    Once more, a fact is more than just something true. It is a statement known to be true, established, that only a madman or a liar would deny. That level of certainty can't be based on conjectures. It must be empirical.
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    And as Olivier5 pointed out, there are sound statistical techniques for estimating this sort of thing, if for some reason you need an actual number. My simple little argument only shows that there's nothing incoherent -- to me, anyway -- about talking about such a number we'll never be able to know.Srap Tasmaner



    A measurement is ALWAYS an estimation anyway. There is no way you can know the absolute exact length of your dinner table. But all you need, for any purpose, is an accurate enough estimation. The same applies to the number of trees in state X.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Look at creationism. At some point they figured out they weren't making much progress just disagreeing with the top line claims of biologists and paleontologists, so they started attacking radio-carbon datingSrap Tasmaner

    At least they know science's weak spot! Kudos to them! Scientists should respect an opponent who's aware of their Achilles' heel.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    Once more, a fact is more than just something true. It is a statement known to be true, established, that only a madman or a liar would deny. That level of certainty can't be based on conjectures. It must be empirical.Olivier5

    OK, we still don't agree. For me there are many facts which could be established as such, but never will, That they are not established doesn't change the fact that they are facts.

    For example, imagine a murder trial where it is established beyond reasonable doubt that John Axeman murdered Miss Rabbit. Let's say he's innocent, but he goes to prison for life anyway, Only he knows he didn't murder Miss Rabbit. Then, being a diabetic with cardiovascular disease, he dies 2 years later. It remains a fact, I would say, that he didn't murder Miss Rabbit, even though it will never be established as such.
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    . It remains a fact, I would say, that he didn't murder Miss Rabbit, even though it will never be established as such.Janus

    The only reason you can say this is that, in your story, it IS established that the dude is innocent.

    You are welcome to go for a personal meaning of the word 'fact'. Mine ​is simply the common use of the term in today's English. Don't take my word for it. Webster Merriam has these definitions:

    2: a piece of information presented as having objective reality ("these are the hard facts of the case")
    3: the quality of being actual ("a question of fact hinges on evidence")
    4: a thing done ("accessory after the fact")
  • Janus
    10.7k
    The only reason you can say this is that, in your story, it IS established that the dude is innocent.Olivier5

    No, it's not. In the story his innocence is never established. Most of us realize that it is likely that some of those in prison are actually innocent even if that fact may never be determined.

    My experience tells me that this way of thinking of facts is in accordance with common usage. You apparently have a different understanding. There is a fact of the matter as to which of us is correct even though it may never be established.

    Your second two definitions from Webster accord with my understanding. 'The quality of being actual does not depend on our establishing it, and nor does a thing being done rely on anyone knowing about it.

    Both @Banno and I have acknowledged that there are two common usages regarding the term 'fact'. The first established facts are in accordance with the ordinary parlance of "the encyclopedia is full of facts" and the other common usage is facts as actualities or states of affairs. Obviously dictionaries are not full of worldly states of affairs.

    Anyway, if you don't acknowledge these usages which are contra your definition, it's no skin off my nose.
  • TenderBar
    18
    It's a fact that I lie
    It's a lie if not
    As a matter of fact
    Matter is fact
    Does it matter?
    If it's a lie?
    If it's true?
    Are these words facts?
    Who's the judge?
    Judge fictionfact
    Judging facts are guilty
    Contaminated with fantasy
    Fantasy with lies
    All entangled to
    Collapse to one
    Of many actual
    Actuality of facts
    Superimposed
    Ooooh you facts
    With the power to
    Set us free
    Or imprison us
    Imprison us in your
    Tender factual cage
    Free us from
    Your eternal painful grip
    As
    A fact of matter
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    No, it's not.Janus

    Yes it bloody is. You wrote: "Let's say he's innocent". This immediately establishes his innocence in your narrative. This is the only reason why you can write later on: "It remains a fact that he didn't murder Miss Rabbit".

    Both Banno and I have acknowledged that there are two common usages regarding the term 'fact'. The first established facts are in accordance with the ordinary parlance of "the encyclopedia is full of facts" and the other common usage is facts as actualities or states of affairs. Obviously dictionaries are not full of worldly states of affairs..... if you don't acknowledge these usages which are contra your definition, it's no skin off my nose.Janus

    I am simply not aware that the word "fact" is used for things unknown, for things that may or may not be the case. But if you want to use if for "things we don't know of", it's no skin off my nose either. I just won't be able to understand you.
  • Newkomer
    27
    Yes it bloody is.Olivier5

    :heart:
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    Sorry for the expletive.
  • Newkomer
    27
    Sorry for the expletive.Olivier5

    I love it! Don't feel sorry! ☺
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    I see you've been banned. Must be the fastest banning ever...
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    this is an area of 141327.149 square miles.Tom Storm
    And, measured on a flat projection or taking slopes into account?
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    What is a Fact?

    Fourteen pages in. What is a fact? Anyone?

    Here's this:
    "'[F]act' is a term belonging to the vocabulary of historical thought. Properly speaking a 'fact' is a thing of the kind which it is the business of historians to ascertain.... The word is sometimes used in another sense, as if it were merely a synonym for "truth,'..; but no such misuse of the word is implied when facts are spoken of in the vocabulary of natural science. Here facts are always and notoriously historical facts."
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