Just The Facts, M’am.

​”The sky is blue.”

As a “truth-bearer”, this proposition shows three things. First is that facts are aside from propositions. Second, whether or not it is true that the sky is blue, the proposition that the sky is blue exists either way. Third, we can only say a fact exists if in fact the fact exists (in other words, the proposition about the fact is actually true), or that facts, like propositions, are atoms of perception which obtain mind-dependently.

It is a fact that these first two cases are facts. It’s this third case which is interesting. At which point does my asserting that the sky is blue not a fact, except that it is shown false? Given that color doesn’t exist in reality, is the sky being blue a fact of perception? If so, objectivity in such cases is merely “correspondence to perception” and “intersubjective agreement”. If not, speaking about the sky this way leads any normal human being to call “it’s not a fact that the sky is blue” detractors pedantic. They will naturally respond, “You know what I mean!” when being corrected about the blueness of the sky. I think I would have to agree.

This would mean that facts are facts not because they are true but because we perceive the world in no other way, and when we can, there is no better way to speak about them and their subject. It is impossible to tell which is the case until some fact is disproved. Unfortunately, one can’t simply demand “x is a fact” to solve the problem. To say “x is a fact” is only to say there is some state of affairs which appears obvious. In other words, there is a great divide between “x is a fact” and “it is a fact that x”. In terms of substitution, it is clear:

  • “x” is “the sky is blue”.
  • “[The sky is blue] is a fact.”
  • “It is a fact that [the sky is blue].”

The former is a fiat. The latter shows “fact” as a label for “The scintilla of talking about our perceptions of the world; an atomic idea”. There is no general sense in which facts “correspond to reality”, except to say by analogy that what we think of Huck Finn binds us in some way not to speak fictionally about this fiction. Being objective about reality and Huck entails to shared perspectives of these and, are the facts about facts.

Just a thought.

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