Knowledge. Facts, Explanations, Predictions

Often people call all bits of knowledge facts, but that is too loose a definition for sound logic.

There are three basic types of knowledge. Facts are events. Explanations unite facts under a theory. Predictions are forecasts of the future based on facts, theories, and a belief about how things will continue into the future.

  • Facts themselves can be verified and agreed to be others. They are events that have occurred. There are two flavors of facts, binary and compound.
    • Binary. Yea or nay. We went to war in Iraq in 2003. True, a historical occurrence which can be checked and validated.
    • Compound. A simple binary does not capture the full story. It helped the Iraqis that we disposed Saddam. It’s historical, but Iraqis are not a monolithic people. For the Shias who weren’t killed, maybe yes. For the Sunnis who weren’t killed, mostly not.
  • Explanations. It’s good we went to war in Iraq. One’s answer depends on other assumptions, facts (simple and compound) and overarching worldview.
  • Predictions. The Fed increasing rates will damage the US economy. One’s answer depends on knowledge of past such actions, position in the economic food chain, and a myriad of other factors which are involved in the US economy, but which are not mentioned.

Thinking in Daily Life