This story is often mentioned, but without references. Was that a true story? Did Hegel indeed say this -- “the worse for the facts!” -- when somebody told him "your theory contradicts the facts!"? Or this was just a joke? Does anybody know a reference to the original source?

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    Huxley's quote express something quite different, than Hegel's. Huxley feel sad, maybe it is kind of nostalgy, because his theory got disproved by single experimental fact. Hegel reacts just opposite - he rejects empirical evidence contradicting his theory.
    – user10518
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


See the paper Hegel and the Seven Planets (1992), by Edward Craig & Michael Hoskin, in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol.23, NO. 3/AUG, P.208, 1992.

You can search on the web : Hegel and the Seven Planets.

  • Ah! Thank you! Does it cointain a reference to the source? Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 11:14
  • Yes; the first page of the article concern the "so said" error contained in Hegel's Dissertatio philosophica de orbitis planetarum, published as docent thesis, where Hegel had "demontrated" that the number of planets cannot exceed the number of seven. This happens in the same years when the astronomer Piazzi discovered a new planet. Th papar's authors suggest that there is no place in Hegel's thesis that support such a reading. Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 12:33
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    Mauro, I still think that we do not understand each other. It is not important for me whether Hegel indeed claimed that the number of planets can't exceed 7 - I believe that this is true, I don't need supplementary evidences for this. I am asking about something else: whether he ever pronounced this phrase, "worse for the facts". That is the question for me. Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 13:50
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    Theres a similar story about Einstein when he was asked how he would react if Eddingtons experiments contradicted his theory. Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 4:14
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    I believe Thomas Huxley said something similar - "A beautiful theory killed by a nasty ugly little fact." Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 15:08

Georg Lukacs, the Hungarian ideolog of Marxism, attributed this to Fichte (quoted by Redner in his Malign Masters :48) but with no reference.

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