Recognizing a fact is a tough task. In casual conversation with friendly people, we don’t need to get stressed out about the words coming out. If I state that “I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt and jeans,” anyone who looks at me directly, at this moment, sitting at the desk in my office, would be able to determine right away if that is a fact or not. Anyone who knows, at least, what a long-sleeved shirt and jeans are and knows “who I am.”

The “fact” that a pair of jeans is a concrete object is a primary “cause” of how easy this task is.

If we are talking about a specific person wearing specific articles of clothing, we have seen that context, or frame of reference, is important. Only people who know who I am would be able to match the statement with the specific situation without doing some research.

Suppose I was actually wearing a dress. It would then be easy to see that “I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt and jeans” is not a fact. It’s not true. It would be harder to determine whether I was deluded, lying with intent to deceive or whether I might be using poetic license to help someone imagine what I usually looked like, etc.

The basic fact of what articles of clothing are on anyone’s body can be readily determined by anyone with access to perform a quick visual inspection. It’s a statement about concrete objects. Interpreting someone’s state of mind is a whole other task. “State of mind” is a construct, not a concrete object.

In my initial example, no information about the color of my clothing was provided. That was intentional. That is because colors are neither concrete objects nor constructs. They are qualities. Qualities are a sub-group of characteristics of other things. They do not stand alone. This makes them a third “category of things.” We must take this into account when we evaluate facts about them.

More thoughts next time.