From fact +‎ -icity, possibly modelled on German Faktizität[1] which first appeared in the writings of the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814).



facticity (usually uncountable, plural facticities)

  1. (uncountable) The quality or state of being a fact.
    Synonyms: factuality, factualness
    • 1871 April, J. B. Kerschner, “Art. X.—The Book of Jonah”, in T. G. Apple, editor, The Mercersburg Review; an Organ for Christological, Historical and Positive Theology, volume XVII, Philadelphia, Pa.: Reformed Church Publication Board, [], OCLC 1055011407, page 312:
      [F]rom the earliest times down to the middle of the last century the writers of the Jewish and Christian Churches, with the exception of the Deists in England and of some isolated views, unanimously held fast the facticity of the events recorded in this book [the Book of Jonah in the Bible].
  2. (uncountable, specifically, philosophy) In existentialism, the state of being in the world without any knowable reason for such existence, or of being in a particular state of affairs which one has no control over.
    Synonyms: dasein, thrownness
    • 1869 August, J[ohann] G[ottlieb] Fichte, “New Exposition of the Science of Knowledge. Translated from the German [...]”, in A[dolph] E[rnst] Kroeger, transl.; W[illia]m T[orrey] Harris, editor, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, volume III, number 2 (number 10 overall), St. Louis, Mo.: E. P. Gray; F. Roeslein, OCLC 863029853, 1st part (Knowledge Posits Itself as a Power of Formal Freedom of Quantitating Determined through an Absolute Being), page 113:
      For as sure as the absolute knowledge (in the infinite facticity—actual existence—of each single knowledge) is only in the absolute form of the For-itself, so sure each knowledge goes also beyond itself; or, viewed from another point, is in its own Being absolutely outside of itself, and encircles itself entire.
    • 1985, Joseph S. Catalano, “The Immediate Structures of the For-itself”, in A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness, Midway Reprint edition, Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, part II (Being-for-itself), section II (The Facticity of the For-itself), page 100:
      In particular, we cannot choose the circumstances of our birth and our entire bodily condition. These "facticities" appear to us as having no foundation or justification. Why is one person born blind and another born with perfect vision? Facticities are thus contingent, they present themselves as simply "there."
    • 1998, Natalie Depraz, “Imagination and Passivity. Husserl and Kant: A Cross-relationship.”, in Natalie Depraz and Dan Zahavi, editor, Alterity and Facticity: New Perspectives on Husserl, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media, DOI:10.1007/978-94-011-5064-4, →ISBN, page 45:
      The dynamics of affective motivation change the immanently given fact (Tatsache) into a processional facticity which originally contains within itself its own temporalizing dynamics. If, as [Friedrich] Nietzsche contended early on, there are no facts but only interpretations of them, facticity is inhabited by an originary plasticity.
    • 1999, Martin Heidegger, “Hermeneutics”, in John van Buren, transl., Ontology—The Hermeneutics of Facticity (Studies in Continental Thought), Bloomington; Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana University Press, →ISBN, § 3 (Hermeneutics as the Self-interpretation of Facticity), page 12:
      The ownmost possibility of be-ing itself which Dasein (facticity) is, and indeed without this possibility being "there" for it, may be designated as existence. It is with respect to this authentic be-ing itself that facticity is placed into our forehaving when initially engaging it and bringing it into play in our hermeneutical questioning.
    • 2003, Thomas Schwarz Wentzer, “Hegel’s Challenge to the Early Heidegger”, in Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa, and Hans Ruin, editors, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation: Phenomenology in the Nordic Countries (Contributions to Phenomenology; 49), Dordrecht; Boston, Mass.: Kluwer Academic Publishers, →ISBN, page 232:
      [Martin] Heidegger replaces spirit—the principle of subjectivity—with the principle of facticity, which binds the activity of philosophizing to factical life, that is to say, to Dasein.
  3. (countable) A fact that is not changeable or that is assumed to be true without further evaluation.
    Synonym: given
    • 1988, David Detmer, “Freedom”, in Freedom as a Value: A Critique of the Ethical Theory of Jean-Paul Sartre, Chicago; La Salle, Ill.: Open Court Publishing Company, →ISBN, section (Facticity), pages 40–41:
      It is important for those to ascribe to [Jean-Paul] Sartre a crude theory of "absolute freedom" to notice that he does acknowledge the existence of facticities which I did not originate and which I cannot change (e.g., the date of my birth). [...] [W]hile I can change some of my facticities (e.g., I can move to another city, I can get glasses, I can even, perhaps, get a sex-change operation), it is nonetheless true that these acts are all possible for me only insofar as I now, in fact, live in Chicago, have certain abilities and disabilities of eyesight, and am male. Freedom, then, always presupposes facticity, and a free act cannot occur, nor can the idea of a free act even be rendered intelligible, except against a background of facticity.
    • 1988, Andrew J. Weigert, “To Be or Not: Self and Authenticity, Identity, and Ambivalence”, in Daniel K. Lapsley and F. Clark Power, editor, Self, Ego, and Identity: Integrative Approaches, New York, N.Y.: Springer-Verlag, DOI:10.1007/978-1-4615-7834-5, →ISBN, page 266:
      [O]nce institutionalized, patterns of responses and the symbolic representations take on the qualities of objective facts, that is, "facticities" that appear to be naturally occurring objects but which in fact are precarious dramatic effects of human interaction. As facticities, these meanings can be internalized by members of the community and shape their experience and self-interpretation.
    • 1997, Jon Mills, “The Ontology of Prejudice”, in The Ontology of Prejudice (Value Inquiry Book Series; 58), Amsterdam; Atlanta, Ga.: Editions Rodopi, →ISBN, section 7 (Is Racism Predisposed?), page 39:
      Because we are abandoned a priori to preestablished factors that constitute our social, psychological, and biogenetic ontogeny, we have no control over our racial facticities. Simply put, we have no choice about our race.

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ facticity, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2014; “facticity”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further readingEdit