By ann summers
One betting shop lost five million dollars on HRC winning the White House in 2016, so unpredictability rules still about the construction of facts. And then there’s probabilty and the machinery of government, perhaps compelling POTUS45* to resign to “get back to his business” as if he ever left it in 2016.
In the case of POTUS45*s White House, however “after the fact” ex ante or ex post, have now become proven emphasizers of truth. OTOH objective reality is fast becoming Schrödinger’s pussy cat.
“Alternative fact” as a meme is in itself a contestable “fact” so that “alt-fact” could become a neologism, but like alt-right, no about of white-washing can make its meaningfulness come epistemologically clean.
Fact (“a piece of information presented as having objective reality”) spiked dramatically on January 22nd, following an exchange between Chuck Todd and Kellyanne Conway on NBC’s Meet the Press that was fraught with epistemological tension.
You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary is giving alternative facts to that,” Conway shot back.
“Wait a minute, alternative facts? Alternative facts — four of the five facts he uttered, the one that he got right was Zeke Miller, four of the five facts he uttered are not true. Alternative facts are not facts — they’re falsehoods,” Todd replied. —Maxwell Tani, businessinsider.com, 22 Jan. 2017
There are three obsolete senses of fact in English. Two of these senses are no longer used:
- a wrong or unlawful deed
- a meritorious or valorous deed
- an action in general
Fact meaning “a wrong or unlawful deed” is rare, but is still used in the phrase “after the fact.”
In contemporary use, fact is generally understood to refer to something with actual existence, or presented as having objective reality.