writes at the beginning of Section IV of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding)
: “All the objects of human reason or inquiry may naturally be divided
into two kinds, to wit, Relations of Ideas and Matters of Fact”。也就是，
现象 = 本质
因而是有缺陷和不完美的 - 由此引伸到“原则”的重要，以后会涉及。复杂的事实
“Law of Jungle”，弱肉强食，以强躏弱，政府欺压个人，社会的强势集团压迫弱
民大众仍然被自己组织的政府所“管辖”-用黑格尔的话(Philosophy of History)是，
们不会学着西方人那样，轻描淡写地说一句，“That's just your personal opinion.”，
Any comment pls publish on your own, I will reply only if relevant.
Etymology and usage
The word fact derives from the Latin factum, and was first used in English
with the same meaning: "a thing done or performed", a use that is now obsolete.
 The common usage of "something that has really occurred or is the case"
dates from the middle of the sixteenth century.
Fact is sometimes used synonymously with truth, as distinct from opinions,
falsehoods, or matters of taste. This use is found in such phrases as, It
is a fact that the cup is blue or Matter of fact, and "... not history,
nor fact, but imagination." Filmmaker Werner Herzog distinguishes clearly
between the two, claiming that "fact creates norms, and truth illumination".
Fact also indicates a matter under discussion deemed to be true or correct,
such as to emphasize a point or prove a disputed issue; (e.g., "... the
fact of the matter is ...").
Alternatively, fact may also indicate an allegation or stipulation of something
that may or may not be a "true fact", (e.g., "the author's facts are
not trustworthy"). This alternate usage, although contested by some, has
a long history in standard English.
Fact may also indicate findings derived through a process of evaluation,
including review of testimony, direct observation, or otherwise; as distinguishable
from matters of inference or speculation. This use is reflected in the
terms "fact-find" and "fact-finder" (e.g., "set up a fact-finding commission"
Facts may be checked by reason, experiment, personal experience, or may
be argued from authority. Roger Bacon wrote "If in other sciences we should
arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us
to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics."
Fact in philosophy
In philosophy, the concept fact is considered in epistemology and ontology.
Questions of objectivity and truth are closely associated with questions
of fact. A "fact" can be defined as something which is the case, that is,
a state of affairs.
Facts may be understood as that which makes a true sentence true. Facts
may also be understood as those things to which a true sentence refers.
The statement "Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system" is about
the fact Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.
Misunderstanding of the difference between fact and theory sometimes leads
to fallacy in rhetoric, in which one person will say his
or her claim is factual whereas the opponent's claim is just theory. Such
statements indicate confusion as to the meanings of both words, suggesting
the speaker believes that fact means "truth," and theory means "speculation."
[dubious ǔ discuss]
Correspondence and the slingshot argument
Engel's version of the correspondence theory of truth explains that what
makes a sentence true is that it corresponds to a fact. This theory
presupposes the existence of an objective world.
The Slingshot argument claims to show that all true statements stand for
the same thing - the truth value true. If this argument holds, and facts
are taken to be what true statements stand for, then we reach the counter-intuitive
conclusion that there is only one fact - "the truth".
Any non-trivial true statement about reality is necessarily an abstraction
composed of a complex of objects and properties or relations. For example,
the fact described by the true statement "Paris is the capital city of
France" implies that there is such a place as Paris, there is such a place
as France, there are such things as capital cities, as well as that France
has a government, that the government of France has the power to define
its capital city, and that the French government has chosen Paris to be
the capital, that there is such a thing as a "place" or a "government",
etc.. The verifiable accuracy of all of these assertions, if facts themselves,
may coincide to create the fact that Paris is the capital of France.
Difficulties arise, however, in attempting to identify the constituent parts
of negative, modal, disjunctive, or moral facts.
Main article: factǔvalue distinction
Moral philosophers since David Hume have debated whether values are objective,
and thus factual. In A Treatise of Human Nature Hume pointed out there
is no obvious way for a series of statements about what ought to be the
case to be derived from a series of statements of what is the case. Those
who insist there is a logical gulf between facts and values, such that it
is fallacious to attempt to derive values from facts, include G. E. Moore,
who called attempting to do so the Naturalistic fallacy.
Main article: counterfactual conditional
Factuality ù what has occurred ù can also be contrasted with counterfactuality
ù what might have occurred, but did not. A counterfactual conditional or
subjunctive conditional is a conditional (or "if-then") statement indicating
what would be the case if events had been other than they actually are.
For example, "If Alexander had lived, his empire would have been greater
than Rome". This is to be contrasted with an indicative conditional, which
indicates what is (in fact) the case if its antecedent is (in fact) true
ù for example, "if you drink this, it will make you well".
Such sentences are important to Modal logic, especially since the development
of Possible world semantics.
Fact in science
Further information: scientific method and philosophy of science
Just as in philosophy, the scientific concept of fact sometimes referred
to as empirical evidence is central to building scientific theories and
fundamental questions regarding the natural phenomena of Nature, scientific
method, scope and validity of scientific reasoning.
In the most basic sense, a scientific fact is an objective and verifiable
observation, in contrast with a hypothesis or theory, which is intended
to explain or interpret facts.
Various scholars have offered significant refinements to this basic formulation
(details below). Also, rigorous scientific use of the term "fact" is careful
to distinguish: 1) states of affairs in the external world; from 2) assertions
of fact that may be considered relevant in scientific analysis. The term
is used in both senses in the philosophy of science.
Scholarly inquiry regarding scientific fact
Scholars and clinical researchers in both the social and natural sciences
have forwarded numerous questions and theories in clarifying the fundamental
nature of scientific fact. Pertinent issues raised by this inquiry include:
the process by which "established fact" becomes recognized and accepted
whether and to what extent "fact" and "theoretic explanation" can be considered
truly independent and separable from one another;
to what extent are "facts" influenced by the mere act of observation;
to what extent are factual conclusions influenced by history and consensus,
rather than a strictly systematic methodology.
Consistent with the theory of confirmation holism, some scholars assert
"fact" to be necessarily "theory-laden" to some degree. Thomas Kuhn points
out that knowing what facts to measure, and how to measure them, requires
the use of other theories. For example, the age of fossils is based on radiometric
dating which is justified by reasoning that radioactive decay follows a
Poisson process rather than a Bernoulli process. Similarly, Percy Williams
Bridgman is credited with the methodological position known as operationalism,
which asserts that all observations are not only influenced, but necessarily
defined by the means and assumptions used to measure them.
Fact and the scientific method
Apart from the fundamental inquiry into the nature of scientific fact, there
remain the practical and social considerations of how fact is investigated,
established, and substantiated through the proper application of the scientific
method. Scientific facts are generally believed to be independent of
the observer: no matter who performs a scientific experiment, all observers
will agree on the outcome. In addition to these considerations, there
are the social and institutional measures, such as peer review and accreditation,
that are intended to promote factual accuracy (among other interests) in
Fact in history
Further information: Historiography
A common rhetorical clich□states, "History is written by the winners".
This phrase suggests but does not examine the use of facts in the writing
E. H. Carr in his 1961 volume, What is History?, argues that the inherent
biases from the gathering of facts makes the objective truth of any historical
perspective idealistic and impossible. Facts are, "like fish in the Ocean,"
of which we may only happen to catch a few, only an indication of what is
below the surface. Even a dragnet cannot tell us for certain what it would
be like to live below the Ocean's surface. Even if we do not discard any
facts (or fish) presented, we will always miss the majority; the site of
our fishing, the methods undertaken, the weather and even luck play a vital
role in what we will catch. Additionally, the composition of history is inevitably
made up by the compilation of many different bias of fact finding - all compounded
over time. He concludes that for a historian to attempt a more objective
method, one must accept that history can only aspire to a conversation of
the present with the past - and that one's methods of fact gathering should
be openly examined. As with science, historical truth and facts will therefore
change over time and reflect only the present consensus (if that).
Fact in law
Further information: Evidence (law) and Trier of fact
In most common law jurisdictions, the general concept and analysis of
fact reflects fundamental principles of Jurisprudence, and is supported
by several well-established standards. Matters of fact have various
formal definitions under common law jurisdictions.
an element required in legal pleadings to demonstrate a cause of action;
the determinations of the finder of fact after evaluating admissible evidence
produced in a trial or hearing;
a potential ground of reversible error forwarded on appeal in an appellate
any of various matters subject to investigation by official authority to
establish whether a crime has been perpetrated, and to establish culpability.
Main article: Pleading
A party to a civil suit generally must clearly state all relevant allegations
of fact upon which a claim is based. The requisite level of precision and
particularity of these allegations varies depending on the rules of civil
procedure as well as the jurisdiction. Parties who face uncertainties regarding
the facts and circumstances attendant to their side in a dispute may sometimes
invoke alternative pleading. In this situation, a party may plead separate
sets of facts that (when considered together) may be contradictory or mutually
exclusive. This (seemingly) logically-inconsistent presentation of facts
may be necessary as a safeguard against contingencies (such as res judicata)
that would otherwise preclude presenting a claim or defense that depends
on a particular interpretation of the underlying facts.