• Janus
    8.2k
    If facts ought to be believed/acknowledged then the OP argument works, stating that if there are no objective values then there can therefore be no facts. It seems obvious that there are facts, so there must be objective values.AJJ

    How do we become convinced that facts are facts? Even if we accept that we are under a rational obligation to believe facts, that still leaves open the question as to how we are to ascertain that something is a fact. And my earlier point was that if we do ascertain beyond doubt that something is a fact, then I remain unconvinced, despite what has been said by that we can acknowledge that the something certainly is a fact, and yet disbelieve it.

    So, if this is right, then it is not a matter of saying that we ought to believe facts, but that we cannot but believe anything that we have ascertained, acknowledged and continue to acknowledge to be a fact. I say "continue to acknowledge" because I think the only way we could disbelieve something we have ascertained and acknowledged to be a fact would be via finding new evidence which disqualifies the thing's facthood or by a failure of memory; that is by forgetting, perhaps willfully, perhaps unconsciously, the acknowledgement. Also, we need to distinguish between disbelief which is the mere failure to believe, and disbelief which consists in actively believing the contrary or contradictory.

    We can just see contradictory things and believe them both.boethius

    It's not clear what sort of things you have in mind; could you give some examples to clarify your point?
  • Kenshi
    14
    "Ought" isn't exactly the right word, I agree. But the point seems to be that if something is a fact, it must therefore be objectively true. If objective truth does not exist, then facts cannot.
  • AJJ
    621


    How we come to know a fact is a fact isn’t relevant to the OP argument. If you’re on a jury and you’re choosing which story to believe, the prosecution or the defence, then you know you ought to believe the true one. Whether or not you know which one that is is beside the point here, since that doesn’t change where the obligation lies.
  • boethius
    244
    And my earlier point was that if we do ascertain beyond doubt that something is a fact, then I remain unconvinced, despite what has been said by ↪boethius that we can acknowledge that the something certainly is a fact, and yet disbelieve it.Janus

    This statement seems to have premise, that facts ought to be believed.

    Also, I'm not arguing AJJ's premise is false, that facts ought to be believed, I believe it is universally true, nor arguing with his conclusion that, since facts ought to be believed, we ought to believe the fact that facts ought to be believed.

    I wouldn't use the word "objective", because it usually has connotation of "we'll agree with enough discussion" (which is what I don't believe is a fact), but AJJ and I have since clarified that his use of the word objective is the same as using my use of universal here.

    My position is that people don't necessarily share this ethical theory in an ontological sense of having this deterministic epistemological belief, that facts ought to be believed, by default.

    It's not clear what sort of things you have in mind; could you give some examples to clarify your point?Janus

    If you ever deal with someone who is in denial about a drug problem, or other bad habits, or in denial about their "expert skill level" being a reckless attitude, or in denial about some hope that has been empirically revealed to be not-true, and especially if you care for that person, it may become painfully obvious how people are capable of believing contradictory things: that sure drugs are a problem but they don't have a problem, etc.

    What is of much more concern to me is contradictions on the political level.

    It is a common view among our historians that propagandists usually fall victim to their own propaganda. By this they mean that propagandists end up really believing what they must have been aware are lies when they invented them the first time.

    Let's take the fairly common belief among the Nazi's that they were invincible. Where did it come from?

    ‘then a day would come when a nation of citizens would arise which would be welded together through a common love and a common pride that would be invincible and indestructible forever.’ — Hitler, A, Mein Kampf, p. 387

    Now, Hitler is being subtle here. He's not saying they are invincible now, which he knows makes not sense ... but we'll be invincible later. And, no way to verify this fact, maybe he did really believe it the moment he conceived of it.

    But what of his agents of the state? Now, being good Nazi's, they would want to achieve Hitler's vision, and so teach others, especially the young, that the day has come that we really are welded together through a common love and a common pride that would be invincible and indestructible forever.

    However, these agents of the state, did they really believe it? Certainly it didn't pass any standard of critical scrutiny. They just lost WWI. They also are aware that if 1 storm trooper can die, n + 1 storm troopers can die, until they are all dead. They even need the belief that they aren't invincible in order to execute battle plans in any reasonable way. Even a Hitler youth was still taught enough critical thinking skills (so that he would be a good soldier) to be able to make these reasonings, that the Nazi regime isn't invincible nor could it ever be.

    So why did people believe it? First, because Hitler told them to and they believe they should do and believe what Hitler says (and if we look at this more fundamental belief, we will probably expect to find it is based on more lies). Second, if they do reflect critically upon this belief in itself, instead of reasoning that it's absurd, they may say "maybe it isn't true, only time can tell, but what is true is every German should believe it so that confidence and zeal in battle is a maximum, so chances to win the war are at a maximum precisely because we are not invincible we need to do everything we can to maximize our chances as the war should be won".

    I contend someone really can believe this is a true and sound argument, and since they too are a German and "all Germans ought to believe this lie that they are invincible" then they too come to believe the lie because good Germans ought to believe this lie and they are a good German.

    And if you look at that argument, you will see it is based on the premise that the Nazi's aren't invincible, but concludes with the belief that the Nazi's are invincible.
  • S
    11.5k
    My view is that statements and propositions are true when they correspond to things that are capital T True.

    Your view seems to be that statements and propositions are true when they correspond to something that is neither true nor false (so how do they ever correspond?)

    It seems to me I’m stating the obvious here.
    AJJ

    In all my years of having a serious interest in philosophy, it hasn't once struck me as useful or worthwhile to make a distinction between truth with a lowercase 't' and Truth with an upper case 'T'. There's simply truth. My distinction between truth and fact is standard in the correspondence theory of truth, and conventionally it's considered a category error to apply truth-values to facts: there are no true or false facts. Your question doesn't even make sense. I could ask you the same thing.

    And does it even matter if I use "fact" where you use "Truth"? Nope. The difference is trivial and not worth arguing over. So what exactly is your motive here?

    It also seems wrong to keep pressing people on the meaning of certain terms to the point of absurdity, and then acting as though this is a fault with their position. If you seriously claim not to know what a fact is, or any of the other synonymous phrases you mentioned earlier, I would question your level of intelligence or your genuineness.
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