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          19 мая 2016        219         0



What actually happened, what is true; verifiable by empirical means; distinguished from interpretation, inference, judgment, or conclusion; the raw data. There are distinct senses of the word “factual”: “True” (as opposed to “claimed to be true”); and “empirical” (as opposed to conceptual or evaluative). You may make many “factual claims” in one sense, that is, claims which can be verified or disproven by observation or empirical study, but I must evaluate those claims to determine if they are true. People often confuse these two senses, even to the point of accepting as true, statements which merely “seem factual”, for example, “29.23 % of Americans suffer from depression.” Before I accept this as true, I should assess it. I should ask such questions as “How do you know? How could this be known? Did you merely ask people if they were depressed and extrapolate those results? How exactly did you arrive at this figure?” Purported facts should be assessed for their accuracy, completeness, and relevance to the issue. Sources of purported facts should be assessed for their qualifications, track records, and impartiality. Education which stresses retention and repetition of factual claims stunts students’ desire and ability to assess alleged facts, leaving them open to manipulation. Activities in which students are asked to “distinguish fact from opinion” often confuse these two senses. They encourage students to accept as true statements which merely “look like” facts.

See intellectual humility, knowledge.

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