The history of facts

From History Today: "The concept of 'the fact' first appears in Renaissance Latin, but the word only entered common usage in the 1660s. The Royal Society, founded in November 1660, was dedicated to experimental knowledge and declared that it would concern itself with 'facts not explanations.' 'Facts' became part of a modern vocabulary for discussing knowledge – also including theories, hypotheses, evidence and experiments – which emerged in the 17th century. All these words existed before, but with different meanings: 'experiment', for example, simply meant 'experience.' … Facts that are successfully disputed cease to be facts, while theories that are successfully disputed continue to be theories."

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