Facts vs. Truth
#1
I'm not sure where to put this thread, this seemed like the most logical place. Vox, please feel free to move it.

The author Farley Mowat died today. One of the things I heard in the media coverage was a quote attributed to him: Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

I've been pondering that, and wondering what exactly he means. What did he mean?
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#2
(05-07-2014, 11:43 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: I'm not sure where to put this thread, this seemed like the most logical place. Vox, please feel free to move it.

The author Farley Mowat died today. One of the things I heard in the media coverage was a quote attributed to him: Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

I've been pondering that, and wondering what exactly he means. What did he mean?

Might mean that people will throw "facts" into your face, which while they may be well intentioned, point to false conclusions.
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#3
Facts taken individually are truths.  But by applying reason to them, using deduction and induction, judging what facts are really important, abstracting from all the little details etc. we can reach universals and larger and more important truths.  If we don't use our reason well, the facts get in the way of the greater truths. In the end we need God's supernatural help to reach wisdom, a deep understanding of reality, and (as much as we can) God, who is Truth.  Christ said "I am the Truth".  If we get too caught up in all the little "interesting" facts, we can be drawn away from God.
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#4
Prairie Mom,
I don't know Mowat, but I think this is a popular distinction among people who are suspect of modernity, and scientism in particular.
For instance, the rhetor Richard Weaver (in the book Ideas Have Consequences) associates this dichotomy with two ultimate visions of reality: one that we could call “idealist” the other “materialist”; he beings one of the chapters saying that some people object to restoration of values by saying one cannot go back to the past. But a person that wants to restore values does not want restoration because they were in the past, but because they are eternal, they abide outside time; so you see, here there are two very different positions: one concedes eternal verities and the other assumes a primacy of time and matter.
This stretching towards the eternal, so to speak, is not, of course, isolation; its not a sacrifice of the particular to get to the transcendent in the neoplatonic sense, the negation of the finite. It is rather the going towards the center that unifies the particular, that, to speak in a Christian way, gives the particular (because beings are not violent isolations from being, but a gift). Thus we could speak of this movement in terms of wisdom and of truth.
The opposite movement would be one of dispersion, of fragmentation: moving ever more away from the center, being saturated in beings, a complete exhaustion within the particular. And to this movement we could justly associate the obsession with facts.
One can see already in this a opposition between truth and facts. Weaver goes on to say stuff about society, like how in the Middle Ages the eminent figure in society was the philosophical doctor, who possessed wisdom in this proper sense – thus when questions of, say, economy were raised he was consulted, while now this is restricted to the specialist: the banker and so on. Here's a quote from the book:
Quote:From this [that scientists lost the hold upon organic reality, upon the unity of the real, clings evermore to the facts] comes a most important symptom of our condition, the astonishing vogue of factual information. It is naturally impossible for anyone to get along without some knowledge that he feels can be relied on. Having been told by relativists that he cannot have truth, he now has “facts”. One notes that even in everyday speech the word fact has taken the place of truth; “it is a fact” is now the formula for a categorical assertion. Where fact is made criterion, knowledge has been rendered unattainable. And the public is being taught systematically to make this fatal confusion of factual particulars with wisdom. (…) The supposition that facts will speak for themselves is of course another abdication of intellect. Like impressionist artists, the objectivists prostrate themselves before the exterior reality on the assumption that the organizing work of the mind is deceptive.
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