Fact vs truth:
The difference between fact and truth has long been pondered over and argued about and yet, not a clear definition of the many differences that these two words share has yet registered in people’s minds. Fact and truth in fact, share very similar definitions in dictionaries which in turn add to the general confusion between these words. However, it must be said that fact and truth do have certain very distinct differences that must be mentioned when speaking about their respective natures.
What is fact?
Derived from the Latin word “factum” which translates in to “a thing done or performed”, the word “fact” refers to a certain aspect that actually exists in reality. Facts are thus capable of being seen visually, felt or heard and thus, they can be verified by various means such as checked by reason, experiment, personal experience or be argued from authority. Facts are objective, in the sense that they can be observed and not judged and thus they can be understood in their true sense as well. A fact is a universal truth as it is believed after being proven.
What is truth?
Truth bears the definition of “being on accord with the reality”. Truth is thus what actually exists in real life. Be it a person, a place, a situation or an event, truth implies having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal that one has come to believe is true. In that sense, truth tends to be more subjective in nature as one person’s truth may be greatly different from another’s. Truth actually depends on temporal circumstances and thus, it can be changed at any given time.
What is the difference between truth and fact?
The difference between truth and fact has long been a source of confusion to many. However, it must be said that while truth is a subjective matter, fact is rather objective. This is due to the fact that while truth is what a person believes to be the truth, a fact has been proven and is available for everybody to see, hear and feel. Therefore, a fact does not depend upon a person’s perception or the way of seeing things and therefore, it is not objective. Truth on the other hand, tends to depend upon a person’s own view of life, his or her beliefs and etc. Thus, truth can be dubbed as subjective.
Because of the temporal nature of truth, it tends to be vacillating in nature. Fact, on the other hand is more permanent. What is true today may prove to be false tomorrow whereas fact, which has been proved, tried and tested, will be accepted as a fact for a long time afterwards as well. For example, when one says that the sun rises from the east, it is a fact that is not likely to change because it has been observed from time immemorial and has been proved as actually existing. However, if a person says that he or she is in America, it is a truth. But if that same person travels to South Africa, the former truth becomes untrue. Therefore, truth tends to vacillate whereas facts tend to remain solid for a very long time.
Fact can be answered with questions, such as ‘where’ or ‘when’, and even ‘how’, while truth answers the question ‘why’. Also, facts can be proven at any time desired as it is something tangible, perceivable in nature whereas truth is not tangible or perceivable. Thus, while fact remains to be a universal factor, truth cannot be deemed as universal because of the reason that one person’s truth may be different than the truth of another.
- Fact is universal. Truth is not universal.
- Fact is subjective. Truth is objective.
- Fact is more permanent. Truth can change constantly.
- Fact can be answered with questions, such as ‘where’ or ‘when’, and even ‘how’, while truth answers the question ‘why’.