Chapter published in:The Pragmatics of Adaptability
Edited by N. Daniel Silva and Jacob L. Mey
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 319] 2021
► pp. 27–36
Adaptability and truth
Factual statements are supposed to be necessarily ‘true’, as opposed to people’s opinions. But what is often not taken into account is the fact that statements always are by a speaker whose relationship to the truth, or command of the facts may be less evident. In particular, leaning on an understanding of ‘facts’ (in science and elsewhere) that is more attuned to the pragmatics of Gibsonian ‘affordances’ and context, the chapter argues for a renewed attention to the conditions of ‘stating’ that circumscribe the truth value of statements. Invoking such diverse authorities as Giambattista Vico, Pope Francis, and Bruno Latour, it is claimed that all speaking is an activity of ‘acting in the world’ around us, rather than merely ‘representing’ that world. This has consequences for the precept of ‘letting the facts speak for themselves’ – as it is affirmed in a deceptively simple, but essentially vacuous popular slogan.
Keywords: adaptability, truth, pragmatics, facts, affordance
Published online: 17 March 2021
Atherton, J. S.
2013 “Learning and Teaching: Piaget’s Developmental Theory” (retrieved 7 July 2015 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htm)
Gibson, James J.
Glasersfeld, Ernst von
Latour, Bruno & Steven Woolgar
Mey, Jacob L.