‘That knowledge is problematic—difficult to establish, labile once created, often imprecise and always subject to the limitations of the human mind—is not the discovery of postmodernism. It is a foundational insight of the age of science, of fact and information, itself. “The life span of a fact is shrinking” goes the fuller version of the phrase. D’Agata heard it, he tells us in the trilogy, from a famous biologist, but he clearly failed to catch its meaning. The point is not that facts do not exist, but that they are unstable (and are becoming more so as the pace of science quickens). Knowledge is always an attempt. Every fact was established by an argument—by observation and interpretation—and is susceptible to being overturned by a different one. A fact, you might say, is nothing more than a frozen argument, the place where a given line of investigation has come temporarily to rest.’

 

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