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An Essay on Facts cover

An Essay on Facts

Kenneth Russell Olson

The notion of fact, as a metaphysical category, is of fairly recent vintage. As a result, perhaps, it has not received the attention that has been accorded more traditional concepts. The present study, which integrates historical exposition with philosophical analysis, aims to help rectify this situation.

The first chapter delimits the subject matter by distinguishing the metaphysical sense of the word "fact" from various epistemic and semantic ones, in the process distinguishing facts from propositions.

Chapter Two is chiefly historical. The pressures that led to the positing of facts in the latter half of the nineteenth century are discussed in the context of the history of the the doctrine of relations, beginning with Aristotle and the Scholastics.

Chapter Three takes up what the author considers the main argument in favor of admitting facts, which is due to F. H. Bradley.

The fourth and final chapter considers several versions of a well-known argument against facts due originally to Frege and Church and examines the pros and cons of various ways of getting around it.

Kenneth Olson was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Language and Information and a consultant at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center at the time of publication


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1 Separating Fact from Fiction
    • Facts and Propositions
    • Getting Down to Brass Tacks

  • 2 Relations and Their Foundations
    • The House that Aristotle Built
    • Relations in God
    • Fundementum Relationis
    • Facts as Foundations

  • 3 Bradley and the Case for Facts
    • The Regress Argument
    • Split Ens
    • E Pluribus Unum?

  • 4 The Two and the Many
    • The Time Bomb
    • The Slingshot

  • Bibliography


ISBN (Paperback): 9780937073087 (0937073083)
ISBN (Cloth): 9780937073070 (0937073075)
ISBN (Electronic): 9781575868226 (1575868229)
Subject: Philosophy

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