I've seen a lot of articles about the current Presidential campaign which call for a "FACT CHECK" in blocky all-caps text. These articles usually take a statement that one of the candidates made, then they say what the real facts are.
Now, see, in my ideal world, this would lead to a debate on what a "fact" is. Because as I see it, people have the wrong idea of what constitutes a fact. I somewhat grazed this topic in the educational game, Professor Garfield's Fact or Opinion?. That game uses the more scientific definition of "fact", which is "a fact is something that can be proven through a series of controlled experiments". In other words, if something can be proven through experiments, then it's a scientific fact.
I think this is a flawed definition of a fact. Why? The definition is focused on whether or not you can prove something. I think the true definition of fact depends more on whether or not something is true, more than it depends on something's provability.
So in the game, I jokingly pointed out two problems with this definition of "fact":
1. If a fact is merely "something that can be proven", you can easily make up bogus facts. And in fact, that's what the Presidential candidates are being accused of doing.
2. There are some facts which you can't prove. For example, "I am a direct descendant of Julius Caesar". Trying to prove or disprove this fact is probably impossible, but that doesn't make it any less of a fact.
To conclude, I say the definition of "fact" as "something which can be proven" is an imperfect definition, because factuality and provability are not identical. I'd prefer a definition along the lines of "a fact is something corresponds to reality". It's a similar, but different definition; I imagine scholars will prefer to keep the current scientific definition, though.