My training as a physicist brought into sharp focus a distinction between two types of truths: material facts about the world, which are determined by experiment ("bodies fall at 9.8 m/s^2"), and logical implications, which can be proven by thinking carefully about each step in the derivation ("2 + 2 = 4," e.g. by Peano arithmetic). Despite my intention as an experimentalist to make purely empirical statements, it's unachievable in practice: I could call the 2012 Higgs boson discovery "an excess of two-photon events," rather than "Higgs boson" with its theoretical baggage, but I can't rid my vocabulary of the word "photon," which is also part of the mathematical model. However, it seems to me that there is at least one other way things can be true, as distinct and as important as the difference between material facts and logical implications. I'd call them "narrative truths" because it's about how facts are strung together as a story. A work of fiction can state something important about human nature, but it's not a fact or an implication. It may be an ethical truth ("this character is behaving badly") or an aesthetic one ("isn't this juxtaposition ironic?"), but that's a separate thing from whether the plot is factually accurate. Scientific and mathematical presentations also have a narrative structure: whenever a scientist says, "This is interesting because..." they're making a statement that is neither a material fact nor a logical implication. Despite what a non-scientist might think about science, these statements are essential because they give direction to the study. When Kepler thought that the orbits of the five known planets fit the five platonic solids (in 1596), the fiveness and exact sizes of these orbits seemed very important and other solar systems would be unthinkable. Now that the distribution of planets is thought to be due to billiards in the early solar system, an exact play-by-play describing which planetessimal hit which to result in eight large bodies is not so important, but the distributions of planetessimal sizes and speeds is now interesting, as well as how general these conditions might be and how they apply to other solar systems. Not only has the knowledge changed, but the narrative has also changed. I've read about Hume and Kant, who had a lot to say about the distinction between material facts and logical implications (a priori/postiori/synthetic/analytic), but I don't know what to read to learn about this third kind of truth. I've heard that Hume called this third prong of his fork "nonsense," but it's significant and the vast majority of what we talk about on a daily basis. Perhaps it's my scientific background, but I can't say it's a fact that I'm typing on a computer right now— the matter exists, it has a configuration in space, but it's not "a computer" until I overlay it with a story about how I use it and think about it. Even the software is nothing but voltages until I interpret the pattern of pixels on the screen as buttons and menus and text. Just as we can't make purely empirical statements about what we're measuring without bringing in mathematical models to some degree, we can't talk about any of the matter around us without making it a part of our story. My question is, how can I learn more about this third way of things being true? It has different properties, such as a lack of consistency— material facts need to be reproducible and logical implications need to be deducible, but interpretations are more malleable without being infinitely malleable. I might consider the thing I'm sitting in a chair, while someone else thinks it's a table (and I'm rudely sitting on their dinner table), but it would be quite a stretch to say that it's a polar bear. What are the limits of interpretation? I could recast a romantic comedy as psychological horror without changing its plot, but there's a limit. The limits of what stories can be claimed about a set of facts are not as sharply drawn as measurements of those facts, but there's a point beyond which the story is not believable. Is there a field of philosophy that studies this? What's it called? What should I read to learn more about it?

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