Moving Factward

by Tyrrell_McAllister1 min read29th Nov 201811 comments



In the legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien, the land of the gods is known as "The Uttermost West." For the world was originally created flat, and the gods took the westernmost region of this flat world for their dwelling place.

On our globe, of course, there is no westernmost point. And yet it is still the case that, at each position on the equator, some direction is objectively "westward". The objectivity of "westward" doesn't assume that there is some ultimate West by which the west-ness of all other positions is measured.

Analogously, there is no such thing as a "bare uninterpreted fact". "Just the facts" is not a realizable ideal.

And yet we can still recognize when one account of a situation is more "factish" than another. We can see that the second account is more of an interpretation compared to the relatively factish features given in the first account. The more-factish account is never the ultimate and unvarnished truth. Likely no coherent sense could be made of that ideal. Nonetheless, from wherever we stand, we can always "move factward".[1]


[1] ETA: Said Achmiz points out that many features of "westward" don't apply to "factward". Analogies typically assert a similarity between only some, not all, aspects of the two analogous situations. But maybe the other aspects of "westward" are so salient that they interfere with the analogy.