Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Fact and Truth

Fact vs. Truth

What is the clear difference between a fact and a truth? Well, if you look into most dictionaries, you will be amazed to find that the two words are actually very close in terms of their definitions. This is because the two terms are very much related. That’s why you really can’t blame people for recognizing both as similar terms.

Fact is basically something that exists, or is present in reality. Hence, these are things that can be seen visually, and these are the things that can actually be verified. Facts are objective matters rather than subjective ones. It is not just something that you believe, but rather these are more or less the things that can be observed empirically, or by the senses. So, facts can be seen and heard, as well as proven by the other senses.

Truth can be described as the true state of a certain matter, may it be a person, a place, a thing or an event. It is what a person has come to believe. If he believes that something is true, then it is true. It also answers the questions of what’s really happening. In the technical sense, facts can answer certain ‘why’ questions, like ‘where’ or ‘when’, and even ‘how’, while truth answers the question ‘why’. The question of ‘how’, and even ‘what’, are said to be answerable by either of the two.

In terms of permanence, a fact happens to be more permanent, and almost always seems to have no changes. It is more constant than truths. For example, when you say that the sun will always rise from the east and set in the west, you are telling a fact, but when you say that you are in Los Angeles, then that is a truth, at least for that exact moment. Several hours from that time you may have gone somewhere else, making your previous statement a fallacy. Thus, a truth is something that is not universal, it is more subjective, and depends on the current situation. That’s why the truth’s existence is said to be more temporary than that of facts.

1. Facts are more objective when compared to the more subjective truths.
2. Facts are more permanent when compared to the more temporary truths.
3. Facts exist in reality, whereas truths are usually the things that one believes to be true, or the things that are true in the current situation.
4. Facts can also answer the ‘where,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions, whereas truths answer the ‘why’ question.


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23 Comments

  1. “Truth can be described as the true state of a certain matter, may it be a person, a place, a thing or an event. It is what a person has come to believe. If he believes that something is true, then it is true.”

    In that case, if I have come to believe that the moon is made of cheese, then it is true that the moon is made of cheese. That’s because if I believe that something is true, then it is true.

    So nobody ever has false beliefs.

    • That’s true, but because Facts support the Truth and Truth is more temporary than that of facts, then Truths can change. In this case it is True that the Moon is made of cheese, unless and until, someone alters that state of truth by visiting the moon and providing objective factual evidence that it is not made of cheese, then the Truth is altered to a new position – a factually supported Truth. Therefore people do have false beliefs – but they are honestly held beliefs.

    • A belief is always correct. You may believe there is a dog outside because you hear barking but the fact is that someone is playing a recording of a dog barking. Beliefs and facts are separate so in the barking dog sound scenario, your belief is correct to you and anyone else who believes you but the fact is that a recording is playing.

      • Hi Rufus:
        When we introduce belief into the Fact-Truth equation, we exclusively (and erroneously) reference a single observer as a source of Fact.

        Belief is not necessarily a Fact.
        A set of beliefs does not help lead you to the Truth.

        In this instance, it is only when you learn the Fact that what you heard was a recorded barking, then you can start working your way to the the Truth – which may be that “Recorded barking is usually used to fend off intruders by some who don’t want to live with dogs”. [Also, recorded barking (a fact because we know it to exist in our world) may lead me to a different Truth if enough people in my world claim to use it for soporific effect.]

        Belief is correct only to the believer, but is irrelevant in the Fact-Truth equation.

  2. I am incline to consider that the truth is a down right rotten lie.

  3. This distinction rules out the logical possibility of false beliefs. According to the author, truth just is what a person believes. So “false belief” is a contradiction in terms.

    It also rules out the possibility of discovering a truth, since nothing is a truth until it is believed.

    Does the author think that anything is false? If so, how does ‘false’ relate to these terms? In logic, math, and computer science classes, I was told that ‘false’ was the opposite of ‘true.’ Does that mean that a falsehood is just anything that one does not believe? That can’t be right. Suppose that my wife is home, but I believe she’s not. (Maybe she’s in the backyard with the kids). According to the author, it is true that my wife is not home, since I believe it. Does that make it false that she is home, even though she is home? Does the author think that it is false that she is home and just ‘non-factual’ that she is away from home?

  4. i wont pretend to fully understand, if it seems otherwise please call me on it.

    to me it seems that which can be considered “false belief” can be put “in other words” like hypocrisy, to say one thing yet act another way or ignorance, the willfully so because if you are pressed on an issue which you have not really explored much you may come to find you don’t really believe (or hold true) what you claim to believe (or hold true). You may return to seeing that belief as truth upon further investigation however (personal note: in my case when it comes to Christianity, i doubt it) (or you can hold it as true but not factual).

    & @ Chris Shrock
    I guess it boils down to how one would interpret the reality.
    if i am confronted by my wife’s visage & proceed to walk through her as if she was a ghost or hallucination then i think that my consideration or belief of her as such is my truth till the facts have weighed on or convinced me other wise “in other words” come to my senses.

  5. Read the difference between fact & opinion, I’m still confused in it’s relation to this article.
    Got to make sure I comprehend.

  6. I agree that facts is more absolute than truths.
    Although sometimes the meaning of the two words can be confusing.
    They are similar though not exactly the same. The one thing that relates them are that both are not Ħ lie.
    Truth is actually Ħ factual fact after after it had beed proved.
    What I don’t understand though, why do people po to prison based on the truth, the whole n nothing but…
    Shouldn’t they be punished based on the facts. Just like what the author wrote?…
    Because it is wrong for us ti send someone to prison without proved of truths… Heck it is confusing!…

  7. Hi,

    Fact is out of reach or you are not able to change it is absolutely static , such as universe

    real is reachable but you don’t make it , you can touch it similar water , if you change it .it will be another thing.

    truth is reachable that you make it similar fire

  8. i believe that its the other way around personally.

    i see the fact as something that relies on a set of observations, perhaps even an experiment in order to concur what is, and what is not…. but the thing about the fact is they can very well be untrue. like, think about it guys. many years ago, it was commonly accepted fact that the earth was flat. or a more popular one thats always open for debate: the fact that man has been on the moon. could be, and couldnt be…. just as easily as the other.

    the truth on the other hand, is something far more obscure. something that even words can not begin to describe. it does not rely on a set of observations, and it can not even be replicated within a laboratory. its just always there, regardless of whether we “see” it or not.

    at any rate. there is a huge difference between the two. how someone may chose to define the difference is entirely up to them. however, i strongly believe that it should be common knowledge that the two are not interchangeable like that.

    also. capital letters are overrated. that is all.

  9. Fact is synonymous with objective reality, which is something that is outside there, you can see it, feel it and know it to be constant and unchangeable. It is a fact that one day man must die. It has been established and nothing can change it. But truth on the other hand is synonymous with subjective reality, which is what you think and believe to be true concerning any phenomenon. Your belief can change depending on the circumstances prevailing at that point of your belief. For instance, one can believe that the earth is spherical and the other also believe that the earth is round. The two beliefs are true to both believers at this particular time until it is proven otherwise by an empirical investigation into the real shape of the earth. Hence the report of the empirical investigation stands as an evidence that confirms either of the above beliefs. This evidence automatically changes what they believed to be true. Hence the two people are likely to change what they held as truth based on the evidence before them thereby changing their truth to fact.

  10. I understand what you are saying, however, I find it difficult to plainly see what you are stating. To be be honest, you seem to be (By my understanding in any case) inconsistent in your statements. Are you claiming that the two are mutually exclusive, or not? While each statement you’ve made is clear when read separately, as a whole this information seems to contradict itself, that is, each piece of evidence may be factual, as well as true in every meaning of the word, but it is very confusing to see what you are trying to point out.

  11. A fact becomes a truth through induction. A truth becomes a fact through deduction.

    Fact: Plant a seed, harvest an ear of corn. Truth: You reap what you sow.

    As a result, I believe the Bible is not altogether factual, but I do believe that it is altogether truthful, just as is a book of Aesop’s fables.

    An X can be both a fact and a truth; fact relative to a higher inductate and truth relative to a lower deductate. Neither fact nor truth have an absolute basis in reality; it’s all relative to our mindsets.

  12. From here, I perceived both are interwoven it needs no scholar to clarify but individual mindset. Even a teenager can best interprete the difference between fact and truth. But my opinion is fact is more real to mankind but only God has a vivid clue to the truth why? Because he’s the originator. Thanks

  13. Opinion and belief cannot be truth because truth cannot be false. Opinion and belief can be false. So can matters of fact. A matter of fact can be logically opposite of what it truly is. So it can be true that an answer is false and it can be false that an answer is true. The dichotomy of true/false is the matter of fact.

    Truth, is another matter entirely. Truth cannot be false, thus is a tautology. In other words a tautology is always true. However it cannot be true that 2 plus 2 sums to five. It also cannot be true that 2 plus 2 does not sum to four. Thus logic and math are about truth and belief and opinion are about matters of fact. Intuitive logic is built into the human mind and computers. Truly intuitive is always true, but if one claims that 2 plus 2 does not sum to four, it is a fact that he is mistaken. The basis of the mistake is a failure to apply the test of truth vs. fact. Ignorance is not a proof of truth or a disproof. One can ignore facts and get by with it, but not truth. As the Senator said, “You are entitled to your opinion even if false, but you are not entitled to your own truth.”

    Mankind has identified a deity that determines possible and impossible, but not factually true or factually false. Anselm said, “God is that than which nothing higher is possible.” Truth fills that need. Nothing is true without Truth, God; and nothing is false without Truth, God. God rules the possible and the impossible, nature rules matters of fact. Even nature is ruled by Truth and influenced by the impossible. You can create facts on the ground, but you cannot overrule Truth, God. You can assign a different name to any factual reality or belief, but you cannot change what something is or its possibility. You can ignore Truth, but you cannot overrule Truth. Even an atheist believes in a higher power, the power of truth, for he believes that it is true that there is no God. But, if it were true, then Truth would be “…that than which nothing higher is possible.” Even God requires Truth, because Truth is required if there is God and if God is not. So God, as most believe, is a matter of fact (or matters of fact that are not true), but as Truth, God is certain and it is not possible that God is not. Truth is always true and never false. God is, always was, and will always be everywhere and in all time.

    • For me, subjectively, this article is true because I believe in every single detail that it has. But for someone out there, this article is not true because they disagree so some points of it. So what is true to me can be false to others.

      On the other hand, considering some basis wherein everyone concurs, then that’s a Fact.

      We can say that Muslims do not believe in the practices of Catholics and vice versa. Because, both religions have their own “TRUTH” – way of believing/perceiving. But the FACT among those religions is “GOD” – both of them believe that there is “Someone” existing “the Perfect Being” – “GOD”

  14. I fully disagree with this author for the same reason as many people above. Belief does not a truth make!

    The way I see it is that facts are individual units of truth. Like a few trillion drops of water make up an ocean, facts make up the truth.

    A truth will always be harder to get your head around and it will probably be impossible to verify directly. It’s almost like Truth is a summary of a bunch of facts.

    You can appreciate the facts without being able to handle the truth. Facts are independently verifiable; truth not so much.

    For instance, and this isn’t supposed to be political… just an example… but let’s say you say America is a plutocracy. This is not a fact-claim; it’s a truth-claim. You’d point out a series of facts that support the truth-claim. “Because of Facts A, and B, and C, and D, we can say it’s TRUE that the US is a plutocracy.”

    Saying that “the US is a plutocracy” is a FACT is going to get you weird looks. Saying “the US is a plutocracy” is TRUE, however, is different.

    Make any sense?

    • Hi Nate:
      I like your model of the relationship between Fact and Truth.

      It stands the test as to why “Truth” answers to the question “Why?” (from observation of Facts).

      Moreover, the TRUTH that anyone can filter from a sea of “Facts” to arrive at different “Truths” may be what makes the Truth often elusive.

  15. hello

    actually, the TRUTH is a proper subset of FACT.for example a pen in you hand is a fact but is not truth.when you write with pen,now it is a truth!

  16. Seems they simply mislabel “perception” as truth. Someone that perceives the moon to be made of cheese is simply misperceiving it. So no it is not the truth. It’s a perception.

    When that person testifies about the cheesy moon… he speaks honestly. But it is still not the truth.

    Or the fact.

    Writers make money on semantics.

    • If all you knew is that one perception than that would be true. It is when the greater majority knows this to be true that it becomes a fact. The inch is not an inch it is just agreed by a majority known to be true.

  17. real is true and reply for question why
    fact will reply for why
    for example: sun rise from east it is true , we ask why ? fact replies: because earth has rotating statue around the sun

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