Sunday, 27 May 2018

John Bateman On Facts

And back to Ed's mention of 'facts'. The only facts I can think of would be theorems that are mathematically proved to hold; and since we are not doing math on this list we don't have many of those to deal with. It's like the phrase that you have to keep correcting in student texts when they suggest that they have 'proved the hypothesis', which is logically impossible. 'Facts' in a more everyday sense can only be descriptions of the world for which we assume indexicality to hold. And as a discourse assumption that must always be defeasible.
Has this all be done in systemic terms somewhere? 

Should be in any case...

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, a fact is a pre-projected clause, typically functioning as a participant in a relational clause; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 547, 549).  The interpersonal function of wording a projection as a fact — instead of a locution or idea — is to render the validity of its proposition unarguable.  For example, if the fact serves as the Subject of a clause, only the validity of what is predicated of the fact is arguable, not the fact itself.

In the field of philosophy of science, facts constitute the data (e.g. biological evolution) on which theories (e.g. natural selection) are constructed.  That is, facts are the linguistic meanings that are reconstrued as theory.

[2] To be clear, here Bateman's orientation towards meaning is inconsistent with that embodied in SFL theory.  The notion of indexicality, in this context, assumes the transcendent view: that meaning also exists outside semiotic systems, for example as physical objects or concepts; this is the orientation of the logico-philosophical tradition.  SFL, on the other hand, takes the immanent view: that meaning is a property of semiotic systems only, construed of experience and enacted intersubjectively; this is consistent with the orientation of the rhetorical-ethnographic tradition.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 416).