Facts and Statements and their role in Personal Development
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Facts and Statements

A fact is anything which exists or occurs or is so. All facts are objective. That means that they are true regardless of who knows them or who believes them. They are true regardless of how you or I or anyone else feels about them. A fact cannot be false. We may be mistaken in our understanding of a fact, but the mistake is in our mind, not in the fact.

All facts are consistent with each other; they cannot and do not contradict each other. For example, Earth cannot be flat and spherical.

All facts have an explanation. We may not know the explanation of a fact, but that does not mean that no explanation exists.

There are four ways in which we can discover facts.

By our own observations

By a report of someone else's observations

By our own reasoning

By a report of someone else's reasoning

Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own pitfalls.

A fact is not the same as a statement. A statement is what someone says about a fact. There are two types of statements: Objective and subjective.

An objective statement is one which the speaker (or writer) purports to state, explain or describe a fact. An objective statement may be true (the earth is spherical), or it may be false (the earth is flat). An objective statement is true only when it corresponds with a fact.

A subjective statement is one in which the speaker (or writer) expresses his or her opinion of or attitude towards a fact. A subjective statement is true for the individual making the statement but not necessarily true for anyone else.

Two or more people may disagree about their view of a fact (He says the book was interesting; She says it was boring). But there can be no way of resolving this difference as each person is making a (true and subjective) statement about themselves, not about the book.

When it comes to subjective statements, there are no experts; one person's view is as valid as the next person's.



Objective only



Cannot be false

Purport to describe facts

Describe the speaker's attitude towards a fact.

Do not need to be known or believed in order to be true.

May be true or false

True for speaker but not necessarily for anyone else.

Consistent with all other facts.

True only when it corresponds with a fact

Cannot be debated

Have an explanation.

False when contradicted by a fact.

There are no experts

Much time is wasted in disputes over subjective statements (e.g. football is better than ballet) that cannot be resolved because there is no question of truth or falsity when it comes to subjective statements.

Objective statements can be debated with many disputes being resolved by pointing to a fact. A fact that corresponds with an objective statement supports (but does not prove) the statement. A fact that contradicts an objective statement disproves the statement.

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