'Puzzle' photo (c) 2008, J'ram DJ - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Continuing with our inquiry into the ways of knowing, let’s read this text which posits that it’s hard to know when a fact is a fact.

While reading, note the following:

  • What is the main idea of the text?
  • What evidence or argument does the author give to support his idea?
  • Is the author credible (should we believe him)? Why or why not?
  • What have you learned about the role of facts in knowing?

Take time to write your notes and bring them to class on September 19 along with your thoughts about the Annie Dillard essay.

Update your thinking and comment on what is the role of reason in knowing? Post your comment as a response to this blog post, Sept 18 by 9.00 pm.

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. In class today I got to read on an articles, which taught a lot about facts. I learned that sometime fact is not always trustable because of many different factors. Sometime we need more than just fact to really get the real answer. Also, a lot of time facts came from repeated things. For example if a number was repeated over and over people would stated to believe it and then when people think of it as true or real that thing would have become a fact. That is why facts might not always be right or true. Another one is an exclude of facts. Sometime in magazines, news or articles, bits and parts of facts about something might be hidden so the article serve it purpose and because of the exclusion of some parts it might cause the change of the true situation or meaning, which mean what suppose to be fact might not be fact anymore. Also, I learned that people tend to believe in things that have to do with numbers better, so like statistic and graphs, but those number might not even be true. It might only be create because it is what people demand. In conclusion facts might not always be true depending on all of the factors above.

    Reply
  2. Today, in class I learnt:
    • A fact needs a level of agreement with society to become a fact
    • That sometimes the demand for a fact will pressure people for that fact and if it is repeated enough, it becomes a fact
    • Annotate an unseen text – What is the main idea of the text?
    – Which example supports the main idea?
    – Is the author credible? Should we believe him or her? Why or why not?
    I also learnt that in the future, whenever we get an unseen text, we cannot bring anything from outside the text and we have to keep going back to the unseen text.

    Reply
  3. The role of reason in ways of knowing is to tell audiences or viewers about something with strong proofs such as statistic, survey, and percentage. Etc. Most of the people are normally get influence by reason as the way of knowing the most. People always believe in numbers, and they always believe that the number and fact would never lie to them. However, from reading an article and discussing with my classmates today I can see that sometimes facts are not always facts.

    Facts are not always facts:
    • Facts might only be presented in one side.
    • Use census to come up with statistic and survey.
    • Reasons might be bias.

    Reply
  4. Fact is a fact when it has credibility and true
    Fact can change through time
    Ones fact might not be fact for others
    Fact is influenced through beliefs, value, culture, perspective, experience, and ethics.
    Sometime fact can be one sided
    Some fact is forced to made or develop in order to fill our satisfaction.
    Fact can influence social problems, and sometime can influence justice it self.
    Is the author who wrote the fact credible? Should we believe him or her? Why or why not?
    facts might not always be right or true
    Sometime facts are made to serve our personal purpose

    Reply
  5. I do not know, when a fact is a fact, because I might be blinded my whole life. But I do know how the human definition of facts are created, thus “facts” are created by acceptance as a whole. Facts are altered when inquired and process through a human’s brain, human’s behavior naturallly being bias (even if some deny) will convert the fact into what they accept or ignored/deny. Another intresting view is that credibility can be used as a weapon, persuading other human’s mind and believing in what is a fact until further investigated and proven wrong. Credibility of organizations may use their credibility as a weapon, telling what one’s mind what you “should” know but not what you “need” to know. Making some bias organization have power over their audience. Facts are not facts at all, take a look at example of ancient civilizations. History are bits and shards of what exist like pottery, ancient architecture, tools and bones. Yet, even if we do prove with carbon science of how old the object is, historians can come up with how they lived all through presumtion. This “way” of how the civilization lived is now a fact due to the acceptance of our society and the majority by belief in the field.

    Reply
  6. A fact is a fact when there is enough reason and data to support the idea. The facts must contain a lot of reason to show that there is a specific message that is trying to be sent through. Facts may hold an opinion, and we become influenced by the “fact” to think that it is true and there is no other different solutions to the problem. Humans tend to think that facts are always 100 percent true, but in English class today, I learnt a few things that really change how a fact can be viewed.
    – Facts are changeable and many of the facts can change through time
    – Through repetition in statistics, even if they aren’t true, they can trick us to believe that the unreliable source provides false facts.
    – We always must look at the source we are getting the facts from, and we have to make sure that the source is a trusted source.
    – Not all facts provide the right information. Even with statistics and sources, they cannot always provide the correct things.
    – Many facts that we look at today are bias because of the place the author is from, or the way the author was raised.
    – Facts cannot always be trusted, and that also means that the source that we are getting it from cannot always be trusted either.

    Reply
  7. A fact is a fact when there is enough reason and data to support the idea. The facts must contain a lot of reason to show that there is a specific message that is trying to be sent through. Facts may hold an opinion, and we become influenced by the “fact” to think that it is true and there is no other different solutions to the problem. Humans tend to think that facts are always 100 percent true, but in English class today, I learnt a few things that really change how a fact can be viewed.
    – Facts are changeable and many of the facts can change through time
    – Through repetition in statistics, even if they aren’t true, they can trick us to believe that the unreliable source provides false facts.
    – We always must look at the source we are getting the facts from, and we have to make sure that the source is a trusted source.
    – Not all facts provide the right information. Even with statistics and sources, they cannot always provide the correct things.
    – Many facts that we look at today are bias because of the place the author is from, or the way the author was raised.
    – Facts cannot always be trusted, and that also means that the source that we are getting it from cannot always be trusted either.

    Reply
  8. In today’s class discussion i have learned a lot of things. We discussed about facts, which questions all the things i have learnt in the past, since my childhood upbringing. Now I realize that facts are not always true. A fact becomes a “fact” when it is repeated so many times that people believe and accept it. A fact can also be a precise number not a rough estimate, for example there are 257 laws against a certain crime. This number seems like not just a rough estimate, not 260 or 250, but exactly 257. This, psychologically makes people believe. “Facts” can also be influenced by certain beliefs, culture, nationality, experience and can be somewhat biased. “Facts” are often “made” to make people see like what the fact-maker wants. This can be seen throughout history like when a side wins the war, they tend to exaggerate on what they did to win the war because it didn’t matter, they won.

    Reply
  9. For my answer the question, “What is the role of reason in knowing?” I must first state my perspective on what is “reason.” First of all, I personally view reason as the logical, assumption-based and deducting side of how we “know” information and the situation around us based on what information we already have. This plays the role in knowing most widely seen in logical subjects, such as Math or Physics, but not so much in Drama or Arts. By using reason to “know,” it is one of the four principles for “knowing” that applies information and fact to base a judgement.
    For example, if we know there is a cat in an empty room containing a box, and we know that from our perspective there are footprints leading into the box yet cat is nowhere to be seen, our reasoning will tell us that the cat is inside of the box. The footprints and absence of the cat are the facts that allow us to base the decision.

    From Today’s lesson here are some of the things I learnt:
    – If a piece of information is told by someone with a superior reputation (i.e. Media, News, Government) then the information is much less likely to be questioned.
    – Facts often seem reliable especially when using numbers that are not estimates.
    – Once there is a first follower, more people will be more likely to join
    – To be bias is, sometimes if not always, unavoidable.
    – Repetition in information leads to trust in it being true, similarly to how propaganda works.

    Reply
  10. Things I learnt today
    – There are cases when a fact is not a fact.
    – When we read facts we need to question ourselves : Who is the author? Can I trust him? What is the purpose of making this facts known? to find out if this ‘fact’ is biased.
    – The example of familyfacts.org shows how one can hide the facts that can challenge or complicate his opinion to prove ‘his own fact’.
    -Repeated words can make an estimation as a fact.
    – Different beliefs, ideas and perspectives in each people can change the fact to another fact

    Reply
  11. The role of reason in knowing is to compile all the facts and data together to create a solid conclusion. Reason uses known facts instead of abstract ideas to learn about something, hence the team reason. However, since reason rely on previous facts, if one of the facts are wrong, outdated or incomplete, the resulting conclusion is also not 100% true. Reason is very important when it comes to knowing because they can result in the most accurate facts, however it rely heavily on other forms of knowing to find data for it. Therefore, reason is not so much a way of finding new data, but more about interpreting old data from multiple sources to create the most accurate data available. Unfortunately, this could mean that data will never be truly accurate due to varying degrees of human error or bias.

    Reply
  12. I learnt from today class that :
    When attitude change -> the way of thinking change –> we need to change our way of thinking so that it won’t be boring and we need to make new things as a result we deconstruct everything and look at it again in a different view.
    People will perceive something differently when they heard the same thing so the fact may alter through different people.
    A “fact” that people think is true may not be true as someone else that is not us is choosing what we know and select what is going to be include and what is going to be exclude which serve a purpose so that the people will think that this is a fact through repetition and so it alter the real fact to the “fact” that being believed in.

    Reply
  13. The role of reason that is tied in with ‘knowing’ is that if facts are given that support your understandings or what you think you know, then supposedly what you know or claim to know becomes reasonable or accurate because of the facts you state as evidence. Connecting reason with facts to support theories creates a false building block in which people develop to create an even greater false understanding of what they are communicating to others. Sometimes we broadcast facts as reason when in reality the facts used can be just a bunch of made up numbers and estimations. We use reason as a way of knowing and to back up the reasons in which we believe in we try to find facts, numbers, scientific digits that don’t really mean anything but create the illusion as if they do have meaning and actual fact behind them. But a key concept in all of this talk about fact is that we don’t know the facts, in most situations we have no way of knowing the facts. We know what we think we know but what we think we know is it actually correct and are they actual facts? There is no way for us to have certainty or obtain the actual truth because we don’t know or are able to obtain fact. Reason is carried out through belief.

    Definition of fact:

    A thing that is indisputably the case.

    (The google dictionary)

    Reply
  14. What I learnt in today’s class:
    – Credibility of facts.
    – When the way we do things change, the way we think also changes (as seen in the differences between the modern age and today’s post-modern age).
    – Social agreement is required in order for ‘reason’ to be accepted as ‘fact’.
    – When an idea or reason is repeated enough times, it becomes a fact (repetition; similar to propagandas or indoctrination).
    – People trust in reason/number/statistics a bit too easily and constantly demand for them.
    – The manipulation of facts to benefit self:
    – Using estimates to create a dramatic effect.
    – Fact choice: because people don’t know other than what is said, a good selection of facts to report and exclude in order to support the author’s point is common. That will make people understand a cause-effect relationship that may not be true.
    – Precision or specificity seems professional and tends to appear more reliable than rough estimates.
    – Facts told by people with authority and higher responsibility or better reputation (take for instance the government or the news) is less likely to be questioned, whether it is because of the assumption or the blind trust people have for them or the fear to challenge a superior/authority’s ideas.
    – Facts are influenced by the author’s perspective or opinions on the topic – the possibility of it being biased is, sadly, very high.
    – Facts are not always facts.

    — Oum

    Reply

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About alavina

Educator and professional development leader at large. Blogger at http://myptoolbox.com.

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