I think we can know the word “fact” is meant to refer to something that exists as we use it in our language by considering proper and improper ways to use the word. Particularly relevant are two ways many people commonly use the word “fact” that are wrong:
One, some people talk about facts being true. However, facts are not true. Facts are what make statements true. The word “true” refers to statements that describe facts. This is one reason it is appropriate to say that facts exist and statements are true or false. Facts can’t be true or false.
Two, some people think that “facts” differ from “opinions” in that facts have been proven to be true. However, facts do not only refer to things we prove to be true. Consider how many people say that “evolution is just a theory” and others say “evolution is a fact.” These are not mutually exclusive because theories can describe facts.
— Maybe you want to spend your morning considering the nature of facts and, more specifically, whether facts even exist. Maybe you don’t. I don’t know, I don’t know how you are feeling at this moment in time. If such a thing interests you, there you go. (via The Browser.)