Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
pluperfect fact
How imperfect is mere perfection?
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2014/08/13
1:50pm
deaconB
Member
Forum Posts: 225
Member Since:
2013/10/18
Offline
1
0

Then, as though by extrasensory perception, I started hearing sentences she hadn’t actually said. I felt a small thrill of fear. I knew for a pluperfect fact she was going to drop a bomb. – Sue Grafton (T Is for Trespass)

I knew the term pluperfect from taking Latin in high school, but Random House says there is a second definition – “more than perfect”.  Is there a word or phrase that means “even more perfect than pluperfect”?  How truthy is a mere fact, not a perfect fact nor a pluperfect fact, but an ordinary run-of-the-mill factual fact?  And where do true facts, actual facts and scientific facts fit on the truthiness index?

2014/08/13
3:22pm
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Forum Posts: 366
Member Since:
2010/10/19
Online
2
0

I can not answer all of your questions and I will not try.  But roll this around in your head:  Some facts are not true facts.

2014/08/13
4:37pm
Peano
Member
Forum Posts: 22
Member Since:
2014/06/03
Offline

I think you’re taking Sue Grafton a bit too seriously. She’s doing entertainment, not epistemology.

2014/08/13
6:12pm
deaconB
Member
Forum Posts: 225
Member Since:
2013/10/18
Offline
4
0

Some facts are not true facts.

Obviously.  It’s a shame that our language lacks a word that means facts that actually are facts, and for perfection that us truly perfect.  (BTW, I think Rupert Murdoch has trademarked that phrase.)

I think you’re taking Sue Grafton a bit too seriously. She’s doing entertainment, not epistemology.

She’s no Rex Stout, but just as Wolfe has Fritz preparing odd dishes, Kinsey has Rosie doing the same, although in T is fir Trouble, Rosie makes quail in tomatillo-chile sauce, a Mexican dish that seems odd coming from a Hungarian cook. and Kinsey shops for a rutabaga requested by her the Mexican identity thief neighbor. (Made me hungry for neeps and tatties, which I haven’t had since the 1970s.)

Grafton seems to be quite literate, but in order to maintain a suspension of disbelief, Kinsey Milhone, who narrates the stories has to sound like someone who became a cop because she couldn’t hack college and then became a private eye because she couldn’t hack the police bureaucracy for long, finally going out on her own because she was so independent, and not even able to maintain a relationship with the insurance company that housed her office.  What I was throwing a conniption fit about was Random House’s definition of pluperfect, although I strongly suspect the lexicographers and editors involved are as incensed as I am at the concept of a perfecter perfect.  What can they do?  They don’t invent the language any more than weathermen invent tornadoes.

2014/08/14
1:14pm
tromboniator
Alaska
Member
Forum Posts: 374
Member Since:
2009/08/18
Offline
5
0

Refresh my memory: how is it that something can be a fact and not be true? I’ve encountered several discussions of this question, but can’t seem to wrap my brain around it.

2014/08/14
2:19pm
deaconB
Member
Forum Posts: 225
Member Since:
2013/10/18
Offline
6
0

Bill’s saying of Monica,that he did not have sex with that woman, was a fact, but it wasn’t true.  The truth was that they engaged in erotic play without coitus, as defined by Merriam-Webster (physical union of male and female genitalia accompanied by rhythmic movements)

Bob Heinlein wrote that there are three kinds of lies. 

The first kind is a simple untruth. When someone precedes a statement with “to tell you the truth,” it’s a fair bet that a simple untruth is coming down the pike.

The second kind of lie is the half-truth.  As the woman said to the parrot, it depends on who you’re talking to. – Archie Goodwin in Rex Stout The Father Hunt

The most effective lie, according to Heinlein, is to tell the  truth in an unconvincing manner. If I tell you that some of Joe’s best friends are niggers, you’re going to believe that he (and I) are racists.

As a newspaper owner, my goal was to report the truth, not to report facts. If I wrote that angry parents confronted the school board, I didn’t interview every one, and frankly (another word that often precedes a  simple lie) there were a range of emotions ranging from curious  concern to highly incensed. 

2014/08/14
3:12pm
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Forum Posts: 366
Member Since:
2010/10/19
Online
7
0

It’s still hard for me to wrap my brain around it, mainly because most people don’t use it that way.  If they say, “It is a fact,” they mean, “It is the truth.”  But, nevertheless, I am convinced a fact doesn’t have to be true.  It was discussions on this forum that taught me the truth (fact)

Here is a link to one.  It shouldn’t be hard to find more.

http://www.waywordradio.org/can-facts-be-false/

2014/08/14
3:42pm
Ron Draney
Member
Forum Posts: 624
Member Since:
2009/03/06
Offline
8
0

As I understand the discussion, a “fact” is an objective assertion, something that can at least in theory be either proven or disproven without any room for dispute. “This shoe is brown” is a fact because everyone who looks at it will come to the same yes-or-no conclusion. “The moon is made of cheese” is a fact, though false, because we’ve been there and confirmed that it’s made of other things. “Salieri had Mozart killed” is a fact because it undeniably either did or didn’t happen, even if there’s no evidence left today that can establish conclusively whether it’s true or false.

The opposite of a “fact” is an opinion. “Poverty causes crime” isn’t a fact because (1) crime can also be linked to other causes, and (2) poverty doesn’t necessarily always lead to crime.

The reported discussion of a listener’s daughter reading the breakfast cereal box and pointing out the “facts” printed there was correct by this definition: “a great way to start the day” can’t be confirmed other than statistically, but “one bowl contains twice the recommended daily allowance for riboflavin” can be settled by a simple chemical analysis.

2014/08/15
12:17am
deaconB
Member
Forum Posts: 225
Member Since:
2013/10/18
Offline
9
0

I suspect this discussion would be a lot different if everyone here had read Count Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity.  It’s an incredibly long book. and I found it difficult reading, because he challenged my core beliefs about the nature of reality and to a large degree, succeeded.

We may readily agree that a given piece of furniture is a chair, but if we say “buy me a chair” we may well be disappointed.  If you had in mind a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker, and you ended up with a ladder-back kitchen chair, you may not enjoy watching TV at the end of a tiring workday.  Similarly, my concept of what is and what isn’t opinion doesn’t agree with Ron’s.

The question as to Mozart’s death is. to me, an opinion.  Any observation of reality is an opinion – including cogito ergo sum.  

What is not an opinion is assertions about imaginary things.  We can say that the interior angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees, because triangles don’t exist except in a mathematical world we have invented. Change the definitions – for example, switch from plane geometry to spherical geometry – and the interior angles of a three-sided shape are not going to sum to 180 degrees. 

And it’s not opinion that Kinsey Millhone’s father was a postal worker, because that’s how Sue Grafton invented her.  None of us in reality knows who his father is for sure.  Even DNA tests leave open the possibility that sear old Dad secretly had an identical twin who impregnated Mom.

There have been no scientific laws proposed in over a century, and all the older ones are known to be false. Instead, scientists propose theories, and fully expect that sooner or later,someone will come up with a theory that better approximates reality.

I prefer to agree with the common dictionary entry and require that a fact must closely approximate reality; lies and errors are not facts.  Arbitrarily devising new definitions for words that conflict with existing definitions is vandalism.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online: Dick
12 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 757

Bob Bridges: 676

Ron Draney: 624

RobertB: 427

tromboniator: 374

Robert: 374

Dick: 366

samaphore: 319

dilettante: 287

Raffee: 238

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 606

Members: 3003

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3112

Posts: 16392

Newest Members: Ria, AmyPonders, InfamousTreatment, cmih, DallasSlim, GrandadBrandon, Eric Chen, Alisen Hazzard, drkhan, JonesNeo

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 828, Grant Barrett: 1421, EmmettRedd: 622, Glenn: 1585, timfelten: 0