Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feat and Fact

These words have the same root:

Old French fait (12c.) "action, deed, achievement," from Latin factum "thing done," a noun based on the past participle of facere "make, do"

Today, we can distinguish between perception and action, between the things seen (the fact) and the person doing (the feat). There is no fact without things to be seen as it, and there is no feat without a person to do it. Things are the possibility of particular facts, Wittgenstein taught us. Likewise, we can add that people are the possibility of particular feats.


Presskorn said...

The same symmetry of act/fact is present in Danish (kends-gerning) and German (tat-sache)...

Thomas said...

Yes, I've always liked the allusion, in Danish, to the "known" (kendte) "deed" (gerning). That's what a fact is: the knowable residual of action.

Just as an act is the "masterable" (or "empowering") potential of a perception.