Facts (= data) are also referred to as singular propositions, factual propositions, statements of facts, basic statements, or basic judgements (Mohr 1977, p. 42). They are often contrasted with general propositions such as theories and laws. Whereas general propositions always remain questionable to at least some extent, facts are often regarded as the hard and solid core upon which general propositions are erected and validated. In this view, facts are unyielding: we have to accept them even if they are unpleasant and contrary to our past experience, our expectations, and our most cherished beliefs. In this context, scientists often refer to “hard facts” or to “hard cold facts” (see, e.g., Hirsch 1975) in order to stress the absolute nature of facts to which we must submit unquestioningly. Such an attitude has often been considered a prerequisite for the scientific enterprise.
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