Thursday, September 10, 2009

Matters of Fact

In the Leviathan and the Air-Pump, we learned that matters of fact are solid items of knowledge that are undeniable and permanent. That got me thinking about what can be called a fact and what cannot. Where would religion fall? For example, Christians would think that God existing is indeed a matter of fact. However, aetheists would disagree, of course. Does that mean God existing is not a matter of fact because some people reject it? Some may say that there is no way to prove that God exists, therefore it is not a fact that God exists. However, others could argue that the world existing or the Bible is a clear sign that God does exist. In the Leviathan and the Air-Pump it says that when a matter of fact is rejected, it shows that it was never a matter of fact, but who’s to say that the people who reject a fact are right?

Do you have to see something for it to be a matter of fact? If yes, does that mean emotions and feelings are not fact? I guess that you could say that it can be shown through that person’s feelings and emotions can be shown through their actions, making their emotions/feelings a fact. What if someone says that they love someone but are too shy to act upon their love? Is that person’s love no longer a fact then because you cannot see it?

Where is the line for a matter of fact drawn?

On a different note, as I’m revising my essay, I find it really hard to just write about facts and not include any interpretation, especially with The Turn of the Screw when a lot of the plot is left for interpretation. Are themes of a story considered interpretation? Because the story is told in the governess’ voice it makes it even harder to interpret what is fact and what is not.


  1. Great point. A matter of fact has to be proven. This includes visual, experimental or any other type of proof. Things like feelings are completely subjective and can only be truly assessed by the person feeling them. Even then the person might not be sure about their own feelings which would make them not a matter of fact. But perhaps this definition should only be applied to things that be quantified and leave matters of feelings and faith to their own category being that they do not necessarily follow the rules of logic.

  2. Let me start off by saying that I too think you make a valid point. =]
    I suppose that since, scientifically, the examples that you brought up, God and hidden emotions, can’t be proven that they are indeed not a matter of fact. At least according to how matters of fact are proven in Leviathan and the Air Pump. I think that when it comes to religion and emotions, those who believe that they truly exist are backing up their beliefs with faith instead of going with the scientific approach of seeing is believing. However I think that as advanced as we are scientifically, there are many things that have yet to be discovered. You never know, maybe sometime in the future some new technology will be developed that can scientifically prove the existence of God or of love and all the talk of love or God not existing would just be another theory proven wrong.


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