# Fact V.s. Value

## Is there a difference between statements of facts and statements of values?

• ### No, I am a pragmatist like you.

• Total voters
7
I would argue that there isn't a difference between a statement about fact and a statement about value. Before I do, however, I would like to see the respones to the above pole.

zk4586
This topic has caught my eye. I voted that there is a distinction between statements of fact and statements of value (the 'is' - 'ought' distinction), whereby factual premises, statements about how things really are must be seperated from assertions entailing how things ought to be (obviously you can see that Hume has influenced me). But, please, I'm certainly curious about why you feel there is no distinction.

zk4586
Well, it's good that everyone is so willing to give their ideas and opinions, unless you have to really think, that is...

Originally posted by zk4586
This topic has caught my eye. I voted that there is a distinction between statements of fact and statements of value (the 'is' - 'ought' distinction), whereby factual premises, statements about how things really are must be seperated from assertions entailing how things ought to be (obviously you can see that Hume has influenced me). But, please, I'm certainly curious about why you feel there is no distinction.
That was a good response.
But what a 'thing' is, seems dependent upon what a thing can be.
Being and 'value' seem intrinsic, to me. I think I'll side with Rage on this one.

wuliheron
In and of themselves words and concepts have no intrinsic meaning, we give them meaning and we do so according to the context. Whether or not there is a distinction between fact and value then just depends upon the context. Up has no meaning without down, but saying that up is indistinguishable from down denies the evidence that the word obviously can have meaning and can be useful given a context. Likewise, context has no meaning without content. Thus, Height has no meaning without its constituents of up and down.

Mentat
I'll see Rage's reasoning, before answering the poll.

zk4586
That was a good response.
But what a 'thing' is, seems dependent upon what a thing can be.
Being and 'value' seem intrinsic, to me.

Interesting post, as well as Wuliheron's. But it seems like value would be relative. Something's value would depend upon our own subjective interpretation of its meaning or use or purpose, ect. independent of its existence.

Mentat
As a matter of fact, I don't think I really understand the question, that is the topic of this thread. Could you please explain what you mean, RageSk8?

zk4586
Let me try to define what we're talking about here:

fact / value

Distinction between assertions about how things really are (fact) and how things ought to be (value). Drawn by Hume, but also defended by Stevenson, Hare, and other ethical noncognitivists, the distinction is usually taken to entail that claims about moral obligation can never be validly inferred from the truth of factual premises alone. It follows that people who agree completely on the simple description of a state of affairs may nevertheless differ with respect to the appropriate action to take in response to it.

This site is helpful for the sort of argument I assume Rage (wherever he may have gotten to) will be delivering any day now:

http://www.filosofia.pro.br/Henry_Jackman.htm [Broken]

...the relationship between fact and value (along with a suspicion of any supposed dichotomy between them) is a theme that can be found in many pragmatists. Indeed, the view most commonly associated with pragmatism, James’s notorious claim that truth was "the expedient in our way of thinking", and that "absolute truth" was that which "no further experience will ever alter," is, in an important sense, just a symptom of his underlying pragmatism about value, and one could endorse such a view of truth for other reasons without thereby being a pragmatist

James takes the existence of objective values to require our eventual actual agreement about what to value. This line of thought shows up the most explicitly in James’s "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life", where ethical objectivity is understood as requiring an actual settlement about what competing preferences should be satisfied. A merely potential settlement does not seem to be enough for James, so if our valuing practices never reaches a consensus amount initially competing preferences, then they can never be more than just that, competing preferences with no ‘objective’ fact about which one should have been satisfied.

Furthermore James suggests that ethical objectivity requires not only that there will eventually be a type of convergence among our needs and moral views, but also that such a convergence will endure. The objectivity of ethical values in the world requires the real endurance of a valuing community, and if all valuers disappear, the existence of objective value will have turned out to be illusionary.

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Originally posted by RageSk8
I would argue that there isn't a difference between a statement about fact and a statement about value. Before I do, however, I would like to see the respones to the above pole.

In my opinion, I think values are factual to the person who believes in them. Facts are true, until proven wrong?(is there a special name for things like that...hypothesis?) This reminds me..."Politics is for the moment, an equation is for eternity". The equation is a fact.

Mentat
Rage, you're trying to discern whether there is a difference between the way things really are, and the way they should be? First off, is there really an established "should be"? Secondly, it is obvious that not everyone's opinion, of how things ought to be, is fulfilled in how things really are.

"should be" could fall under the multiple histories theory(my obssesion)

zk4586
In my opinion, I think values are factual to the person who believes in them. Facts are true, until proven wrong?(is there a special name for things like that...hypothesis?) This reminds me..."Politics is for the moment, an equation is for eternity". The equation is a fact.

The equation is a fact only insomuch as it accurately fits or portrays a collection of data. Can we assume that it will fit all future data? If it doesn't than it breaks down, it ceases to be of value. Can we call such things facts?

Rage, you're trying to discern whether there is a difference between the way things really are, and the way they should be? First off, is there really an established "should be"? Secondly, it is obvious that not everyone's opinion, of how things ought to be, is fulfilled in how things really are.

Lets just wait until Rage gets back and can tell us his ideas. From what I've seen of Rage's philosophy in the past, his perspicacity and cleverness, I'm sure his posts will be enlightening.

The equation is a fact only insomuch as it accurately fits or portrays a collection of data. Can we assume that it will fit all future data? If it doesn't than it breaks down, it ceases to be of value. Can we call such things facts?

Facts are true until proven wrong. That is to say, they are...temporary. Ether was once a fact, but now it has become factitous.
Facts only portray the given data, and until we find more data, we could edit this fact.

this is an excellent thread; more intellectual than I had expected. Good job, Rage!

zk4586
Facts are true until proven wrong. That is to say, they are...temporary. Ether was once a fact, but now it has become factitous.
Facts only portray the given data, and until we find more data, we could edit this fact.

Granted, I'm still unsure about many philosophical issues (either because I haven't learned enough about them, haven't studied all the sides, or I haven't considered them long enough), but ether was never a fact, merely a part of the scientific ontology back when we were unsure as to what the upper regions of space consisted of. Nevertheless, our positing ether as an actual rarefied element that composed space didn't give it existence any more than our creation of unicorns and other mythological beasts meant that such things had a factual existence...whatever that is...oh boy, I'm going to bed.

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FZ+
Originally posted by MajinVegeta
Facts are true until proven wrong. That is to say, they are...temporary. Ether was once a fact, but now it has become factitous.
Facts only portray the given data, and until we find more data, we could edit this fact.

this is an excellent thread; more intellectual than I had expected. Good job, Rage!
Hmm.... I disagree. Facts are that which have been proven objectively to be correct. Hence, in science, there is no such thing as a fact.

zk4586
Hmm.... I disagree. Facts are that which have been proven objectively to be correct. Hence, in science, there is no such thing as a fact.

FZ, if you don't think science can reveal facts (by your definition of a fact as something which has been proven objectively to be correct), then what can?

Mr. Robin Parsons
Lets try it this way, a one dollar bill is, in fact, a piece of paper, with some fancy printing upon it's faces.

It's value, is something that is mutable, and changing, inasmuch as it's value is only related to it's factual existance, by personalized/idiosyncratic Perception(s).

The fact of it's existance is not changed by perceptions, only by actions, (burn it) whereas it's value is changable by perception.

A Stated Fact is meant to represent a self evident truth, a stated value is a self percieved 'truth'.

The differentiation of the inner opinion that is value, and the outer observation (drawn from within) that is, if described accurately, fact.

zk4586
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
Lets try it this way, a one dollar bill is, in fact, a piece of paper, with some fancy printing upon it's faces.

It's value, is something that is mutable, and changing, inasmuch as it's value is only related to it's factual existance, by personalized/idiosyncratic Perception(s).

The fact of it's existance is not changed by perceptions, only by actions, (burn it) whereas it's value is changable by perception.

A Stated Fact is meant to represent a self evident truth, a stated value is a self percieved 'truth'.

The differentiation of the inner opinion that is value, and the outer observation (drawn from within) that is, if described accurately, fact.

very interesting analogy.

FZ+
FZ, if you don't think science can reveal facts (by your definition of a fact as something which has been proven objectively to be correct), then what can?
Nothing can. The concept of "fact" is an ideal, a goal. Science IMHO gets us closest, but still not quite there.

On the other hand, an objectively verifiable observation is as close as possible to a fact. But even this is clouded by the neccessary uncertainties that must exist.

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Mentat
Originally posted by MajinVegeta
Facts are true until proven wrong. That is to say, they are...temporary. Ether was once a fact, but now it has become factitous.
Facts only portray the given data, and until we find more data, we could edit this fact.

this is an excellent thread; more intellectual than I had expected. Good job, Rage!

Actually, you are describing theories. A theory is true until proven wrong.

zk4586
Originally posted by FZ+
Nothing can. The concept of "fact" is an ideal, a goal. Science IMHO gets us closest, but still not quite there.

On the other hand, an objectively verifiable observation is as close as possible to a fact. But even this is clouded by the neccessary uncertainties that must exist.

I don't like this. If we have invented the word fact as a designation for something that objectively exists with certain designative qualities, insomuch as objectivity depends on uniform or consistent agreement of those qualities, then it seems very strange indeed to believe that we have stretched the word to the point where it no longer applies to anything. To put this into a simple thought experiment: Let's say you and I go into a small, square room together -- a room in which I have placed an orange basketball in the far left corner of (relative to our position, let us not overcomplicate things too much). If we both agree that that basketball has the quality of being in the far left corner of the room, or the quality of being spherical, or the quality of being orange, so on and so forth, then why can't our concurring subjective views of the qualities of that basketball establish (at least for us) that the ball has the objective qualities (factual qualities) of being spherical, or of being orange, et cetera, thereby justifying that the sentence "that basketball in the far left corner of the room is orange" is a factual sentence -- a sentence that reveals facts: that it is a basketball, that it is in the far left corner of the room, that it is orange.

FZ+
I don't like this. If we have invented the word fact as a designation for something that objectively exists with certain designative qualities, insomuch as objectivity depends on uniform or consistent agreement of those qualities, then it seems very strange indeed to believe that we have stretched the word to the point where it no longer applies to anything.
Well... stranger things have happened. I suggest that facts exist only in the mind as a concept. In reality they are an unattainable goal - like "freedom" or "free love" or "world peace" etc.

To put this into a simple thought experiment: Let's say you and I go into a small, square room together -- a room in which I have placed an orange basketball in the far left corner of (relative to our position, let us not overcomplicate things too much). If we both agree that that basketball has the quality of being in the far left corner of the room, or the quality of being spherical, or the quality of being orange, so on and so forth, then why can't our concurring subjective views of the qualities of that basketball establish (at least for us) that the ball has the objective qualities (factual qualities) of being spherical, or of being orange, et cetera, thereby justifying that the sentence "that basketball in the far left corner of the room is orange" is a factual sentence -- a sentence that reveals facts: that it is a basketball, that it is in the far left corner of the room, that it is orange.
Because belief itself does not define existence. A million people can see the same thing and say the same thing, but that doesn't mean that it is true. It is still possible, albeit slightly that both of us were simultaneously struck with colour blindness, and when 5 more people walk in, they will all say that the ball is in fact blue. and when another 10 more people come in, it is red and so on. At no point have we justified absolutely that the statement we made is a fact. Rather, we believe it to be the closest to the fact, or as probable to be true as our evidence allows. But the uncertainty is still there. We are still not perfect. We can in this situation say that at present the idea the ball is orange, is round, is in the far left corner of the room is more of a fact than a statement that the ball is cubular, is green, is in the right hand corner of the room. But we cannot say it is a fact for certain.

zk4586
Originally posted by FZ+
Well... stranger things have happened. I suggest that facts exist only in the mind as a concept. In reality they are an unattainable goal - like "freedom" or "free love" or "world peace" etc.

I also suggest that "facts" only exist as a concept in the mind, but I say that because we have invented the word fact, along with all other words, to correspond to either something in the real world (tree, apple, our orange basketball) or to act as a representational tool to correspond to certain ideas or concepts or notions. Thus we can feel as though we're accurately using the words (or phrases) freedom and free love if we believe we're using the words accurately to the definition we've ascribed them. And yet, you said that belief itself does not define existence, and I do agree with this. However, you also said (just after the part above that I quoted) that facts exist only in the mind, in which case our using words like "facts" to correspond to some thing -- or, in the case of my simple thought experiment, some agreed upon objective quality that is ascribed to some thing -- is perfectly acceptable.

Because belief itself does not define existence. A million people can see the same thing and say the same thing, but that doesn't mean that it is true. It is still possible, albeit slightly that both of us were simultaneously struck with colour blindness, and when 5 more people walk in, they will all say that the ball is in fact blue. and when another 10 more people come in, it is red and so on. At no point have we justified absolutely that the statement we made is a fact. Rather, we believe it to be the closest to the fact, or as probable to be true as our evidence allows. But the uncertainty is still there. We are still not perfect. We can in this situation say that at present the idea the ball is orange, is round, is in the far left corner of the room is more of a fact than a statement that the ball is cubular, is green, is in the right hand corner of the room. But we cannot say it is a fact for certain.

I certainly see your point, but I still contend that labeling the sentence "that basketball in the far left corner of the room is orange" as a factual sentence is perfectly acceptable because the information that that sentence gives as facts are facts for us. Let's say the scenario you propose happens, and five more people walk in and tell us that the basketball is not orange but, rather, blue. Well, since there is a conflict of reports, this makes suspect our belief that the sentence "that basketball is orange" is fact. We can't be sure now whether they're right or we're right, or, indeed, everyone present is wrong -- since it's possible that they're colorblind and we're not, or, as you also suggest, all seven of us are colorblind. But none of this really matters anyway. We can simply bring more people in to the room, ask them what color the ball is (and question them of other qualities of the ball that we believe are facts because the two of us have agreed upon them: position, shape, size, et cetera) and either we'll be convinced that we were wrong and there's something wrong with our eyes or we'll go on believing that we're right and anyone who says different is wrong. Either way, since words -- or, more appropriately, labels -- like "fact" are merely concepts of mind with a specific definition that we have attributed to them, it's perfectly alright to use the word fact in terms of our aforementioned sentence -- in other word, in terms of the qualities that we have agreed that the ball has.

Originally posted by Mentat
Actually, you are describing theories. A theory is true until proven wrong.

yes, I the thought occured to me. I guess what I was getting at was how something could be considered to be a fact for the present time, but through time (in the future), the fact is no longer a fact. Just as the shape of the earth, in Aristotlian (sp?) theory, the earth was the center of the universe. It was a fact. Unitl Copernicus, Galilaeo and others came into the equation.

Originally posted by zk4586
I also suggest that "facts" only exist as a concept in the mind, but I say that because we have invented the word fact, along with all other words, to correspond to either something in the real world (tree, apple, our orange basketball) or to act as a representational tool to correspond to certain ideas or concepts or notions. Thus we can feel as though we're accurately using the words (or phrases) freedom and free love if we believe we're using the words accurately to the definition we've ascribed them. And yet, you said that belief itself does not define existence, and I do agree with this. However, you also said (just after the part above that I quoted) that facts exist only in the mind, in which case our using words like "facts" to correspond to some thing -- or, in the case of my simple thought experiment, some agreed upon objective quality that is ascribed to some thing -- is perfectly acceptable.

I certainly see your point, but I still contend that labeling the sentence "that basketball in the far left corner of the room is orange" as a factual sentence is perfectly acceptable because the information that that sentence gives as facts are facts for us. Let's say the scenario you propose happens, and five more people walk in and tell us that the basketball is not orange but, rather, blue. Well, since there is a conflict of reports, this makes suspect our belief that the sentence "that basketball is orange" is fact. We can't be sure now whether they're right or we're right, or, indeed, everyone present is wrong -- since it's possible that they're colorblind and we're not, or, as you also suggest, all seven of us are colorblind. But none of this really matters anyway. We can simply bring more people in to the room, ask them what color the ball is (and question them of other qualities of the ball that we believe are facts because the two of us have agreed upon them: position, shape, size, et cetera) and either we'll be convinced that we were wrong and there's something wrong with our eyes or we'll go on believing that we're right and anyone who says different is wrong. Either way, since words -- or, more appropriately, labels -- like "fact" are merely concepts of mind with a specific definition that we have attributed to them, it's perfectly alright to use the word fact in terms of our aforementioned sentence -- in other word, in terms of the qualities that we have agreed that the ball has.

So in other words facts are relative?

zk4586
So in other words facts are relative?

Well, yes and no. Give me a bit to reconsider my arguments so that I can properly expound on all my ideas. It's interesting that while FZ is arguing that nothing can be considered a fact, I seem to be arguing that anything can be called a fact (though that's not really what I believe, I just need some time to work out my views).

Sorry for two things:
1. The amount of time before it has taken me to reply
2. The reality that I will probably not be able to give my argument tonight (I will soo though, sorry again, busy trying to get enrolled/financed for college next year and a trip to Germany this summer set up)

I am talking about the general distinction between a factual statement and a value statement, examples:

Examples of facts: "e=mc^2", "the gravitational pull between two objects varies inversely to the the sqaure of the distance between them", "To day is tuesday", "Albertsons is a supermarket", "It is 72 degrees outside"

Examples of Values: "Slavery is wrong", "'Blade 2' is a horrible movie", "It is really hot outside", "Albertsons is a great supermarket", "Homosexuality is not a sin"

Mr. Robin Parsons
Lets see, facts can be imbibed (Esteemed to have, or instilled within them, or seen 'as added to') with value, (how much for the painting Buddy?) and the value becomes a fact, ($!0,000.00) SOLD!, which is a mutable fact, (Psssst Buddy, wanna buy a painting, I know the owner, I'll get you a good price!) How much?, ($12,000.00), SOLD!, the fact of the value of the painting has changed, but none of it is a lie of fact it is an evolution of a 'fact'(ual) value, over time.

The fact can be changed, the painting burned, and the value disappears from it.

Even if you tell me a lie, I know a fact, but the fact that I know is that you are a 'liar', that this was the lie you told, and this is the fact that proves it, the value thereof as yet undetermined.

So a value can also be a fact, and a fact can have value, or be a value, and they both can, as such of each other, change.

That's a Valuable Fact

FZ+
I might go further. Maybe we have a sliding scale with complete facts and complete values on two, opposite, unreachable ends?

wuliheron
Even if you tell me a lie, I know a fact, but the fact that I know is that you are a 'liar', that this was the lie you told, and this is the fact that proves it, the value thereof as yet undetermined.Even if you tell me a lie, I know a fact, but the fact that I know is that you are a 'liar', that this was the lie you told, and this is the fact that proves it, the value thereof as yet undetermined.

So a value can also be a fact, and a fact can have value, or be a value, and they both can, as such of each other, change.

That's a Valuable Fact

Or is it a factual value or neither one? What it clearly is, is a paradox.

Mr. Robin Parsons
Originally posted by Wuliheron

Or is it a factual value or neither one? What it clearly is, is a paradox.

Not really, as the fact of the existance of this planet, is a fact, and we cannot, (at least not at present to the best of my present knowledge) change that fact! hence there is no paradox, only the appearance of one, when judged in/on certain scales.

The rest is History!

wuliheron
Not really, as the fact of the existance of this planet, is a fact, and we cannot, (at least not at present to the best of my present knowledge) change that fact! hence there is no paradox, only the appearance of one, when judged in/on certain scales.

Quantum Mechanics suggests a different possibility, that indeed we may exist and not exist at the same time. In addition, as I've stated many times before to you and others, there is no rational explanation for the origin, disposition, and validity of existence as we perceive it. Certainly I like to think I exist and act as if I do, but if wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets. Bottom line, nobody can really say what is happening. If they could, it would resolve quantum weirdness in general.

Mentat
Originally posted by RageSk8
Sorry for two things:
1. The amount of time before it has taken me to reply
2. The reality that I will probably not be able to give my argument tonight (I will soo though, sorry again, busy trying to get enrolled/financed for college next year and a trip to Germany this summer set up)

I am talking about the general distinction between a factual statement and a value statement, examples:

Examples of facts: "e=mc^2", "the gravitational pull between two objects varies inversely to the the sqaure of the distance between them", "To day is tuesday", "Albertsons is a supermarket", "It is 72 degrees outside"

Examples of Values: "Slavery is wrong", "'Blade 2' is a horrible movie", "It is really hot outside", "Albertsons is a great supermarket", "Homosexuality is not a sin"

Well, from this post, I am inclined to believe that there is a definite difference between facts and values. After all, values can vary because viewpoint, while facts are true, and unchangeable.

Mr. Robin Parsons
Originally posted by wuliheron
Quantum Mechanics suggests a different possibility, that indeed we may exist and not exist at the same time. In addition, as I've stated many times before to you and others, there is no rational explanation for the origin, disposition, and validity of existence as we perceive it. Certainly I like to think I exist and act as if I do, but if wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets. Bottom line, nobody can really say what is happening. If they could, it would resolve quantum weirdness in general.

That is a statement that is a little premature, in light of the presently acknowledged 'ignorance' of current status of 'things'.

As for wishes and fishes, there are certainly lots of 'netcasters' in the world, just look at lottery ticket sales!!