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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Implicature: Cancellability and Falsifiability


We are considering the variants between 'falsified' and 'falsifiable'.  Of
course, for Popper the demarcation criterion is falsifiability, a modal 
concept.  Yet, 'falsifiable' is a derivative of 'falsify', and it may do to 
consider the  CORE (and only) 'sense' of this, to see if Popper is not 
inviting some  implicature by sticking with this verb.

The English  verb, as 45% of  England's culture, derives from France ("Honi
soit qui mal  y pense"), French  "falsifier", ultimately from Latin
"falsificare", itself  from Latin  "falsificus", making false, from, of course, "<
"falsus",  "falsum" + -ficare,  cfr. -fy, suffix.

The original (and only) sense  is to make false or  incorrect, i.e. to
alter fraudulently.

The expression can also be used to mean to introduce false matter into  or
give an  incorrect version of (a document, etc.).

The first  citation in English is dated 1449. Later in 1502, it is used

It is  from the "Ordynarye of Crysten Men (de Worde)":

To falsefy the letters of  the Pope."

Quite a trick, eh?

A few years later, we have a second  Popperian:

1527   R. Thorne, "Divers Voyages"

"Those  they have falsified of late purposely."

This above is more like Popper  combined with Grice. To falsify you really
need to INTEND to falsify, hence  the 'purposely'. It is not a falsification
if it "just happens", the fake  Tiziano, to look like the real one.

In 1651, Hobbes waxes Popperian in  his "Leviathan" when he  writes:

"They did not therefore falsify the  Scriptures."

But of course, they didn't verify them either, is Hobbes's  invited

In the next century it was used  aristocratically:

1741 Marquis d'Argens, "Chinese Letters" 

"Funeral orations had contributed very much to falsify  history."

The marquis implicature seems to be that, since to falsify  history is a
bad thing, funeral orations should be avoided.

In the next  century, in 1832, Mackintosh in his "Rise & Fall of
Struensee," becomes  Popperian:

"Accused of having falsified the public   accounts."

-- the invited implicature being of course that this is much  graver than
falsify a PRIVATE account, if you've seen one.

A few  years later, in  1855, D. Brewster in his "Memorable Life of Isaac
Newton"  GOES _really_  Popperian:

"He falsified the document by the  substitution of a paragraph."

NOT the one dealing with the formula for  gravity, we hope:


The substituted paragraph is now missing  so one wonders what authority
Brewster is relying on to even SAY (never  mind implicate) that falsification
took place here.

"Falsify" can  also be used, via implicature, to  mean to give a false
account of; to  misrepresent.

Thus in 1630, W. Prynne  in his popular  "Anti-Arminianism", speaks of

"Which falsifies the eternal  truth."

-- providing there is one. For Quine criticised the view that 2  +2=4 was
an eternal truth.

In 1641, R. Montagu in his "Acts &  Monuments", writes:

"Aemylius Probus mistook, or falsifies  Thucydides."

which entails that Montague READ _both_ Aemylius Probus"  _and_ Thucydides.

Montagu does not consider that Aemylius Probus was  _translating_ and
recall the Italian motto: "translator, traitor!"

In  1711,  R. Steele writing for "The Spectator" has:

"Good-breeding has made the tongue falsify the heart."

This may do with what Grice calls a non-conversational implicature, due to 
the maxim, 'be polite'. If you are being polite, it's natural that the
tongue  might falsify the heart:

A: What does this dress look on me?
B: Lovely.

In 1847, R. W.  Emerson in his famous essay on "Napoleon", writes:

"He sat in his lonely island, coldly falsifying facts and   dates."

-- which sounds as the ideal scientist for Popper! (Just teasing)

In  an 'absolute' use, it can also be employed, as when in 1791, Boswell in
his  indiscreet "Life  Johnson" reports Johnson having said:

"Lord Bathurst did not intentionally falsify."

-- which for J. L. Austin ("A plea for excuses") and Grice means Lord 
Bathurst did not falsify _simpliciter_.

In 1824, also in this absolute use, we find in T. F. Dibdin, "The 
Librarian's Companion":

"Not that Johnson designedly falsified."

So we can say that both Lord Bathurst and Johnson were innocent. This is 
confusing. Since, if Johnson said that Bathurst did not falsify, but Didbin
adds  that Johnson did not falsify, either. We may have a meta-falsify, which
may be  like a 'verify', only different.

In 1868, again in this absolute use, we  find in R. Browning's "Ring":

"I falsified and  fabricated."

This is interesting: To falsify is to say, say, "Snow is black", to 
fabricate is to say "Snow is found in the Moon." Browning did both -- or his 
poetic persona, rather.

"To falsify" can be used to mean to assert  falsely. 

Thus, in 1606 in a translation of Justinus's "History", we  find:

"How they might take away his life, by treason to be falsified against 

It is treason that is falsified AGAINST. This is a very complex use of 

To 'falsify' may be used simply to mean to adulterate. Also of  disease: to
corrupt,  vitiate.

Thus, in 1562, in Act 5 Elizabeth, we  find:

"Diverse persons diminish, impair and falsify the monies and coins  current
within this realm."

The implicature the quean invites, typically, is that they were not 

In 1634, in a translation of one letter by Balzac, we  read:

"Those who falsify merchandizes."

The implicature: "are wicked."

In 1656, Manasseh ben Israel in his  "Vindiciæ Judæorum" writes:

"Verdigrease all falsified with  earth."

-- a complex occurrence.

In 1658 in a translation of F. Würtz, "Surgeons Guide", we  find: 

"By diseases, the joint water or radical humour is falsified."

i.e. not true.

"To falsify" can be used also to make (a balance or  standard) untrue.

Thus in the 1611 King James Bible, we find  in Amos viii. 5   

"Falsifying the balances by deceit."

Still, Lakatos thinks that falsification can work as the method  for
mathematical revolutions so perhaps Amos was being a Lakatosian avant la  lettre.

In 1848, R. W. Hamilton, in his "Rewards  & Punishmments"  notes:

"We are not compelled to falsify our standards."

His use of 'not' is confusing, since there never was an implicature  that
we should (unless we want punishment)

"To falsify" can also be used  to mean to alter or pervert from correct

Thus, in 1589, G.  Puttenham in his popular "Arte of English Poesie",

"There can not be a fouler fault than to falsify his accent to serve  his

-- which however is what Bob Dylan always does? Is he Popperian?

In 1841, D'Israeli in his "Amenities" notes:

"Spenser falsified accentuation, to adapt it to his metre."

At least he did not falsify the 's' as the SpenCers did!

"To  falsify" can be used also to make unsound.

Thus, in 1868, M. Pattison, in his "Suggestions for an Academic 
Organisation" notes:

"An unhappy spirit falsified the relation between  the parties."

Between the garden party and the drawing-room party -- very Popperian, even
if Popper disbelieved in spirits -- unhappy or not.

"To  falsify" was used by Dryden in an avowed imitation of Italian  

Thus in 1697, in his translation of "Eneide" he writes:

"His ample shield is falsified, and round with  javelins filled."

Note that here, unlike in Popper, 'falsify' does not apply to 
'propositions' but to Turno's shield.

Again Dryden notes:

"I use the word "falsify" in this place to mean that the shield of  Turnus
was not of proof against the spears and javelins of  the Trojans."

I.e. he is DEFINING 'falsify' differently, and explicitly stipulating  so.

"To falsify" can be used to mean to produce a counterfeit of;  to 

Thus in 1601, P. Holland, translating  Plinio's "Storie" writes:

"After that crystal was once found out, they devised to sophisticate  and
falsify other gems therewith."

A bad thing -- even for Tiffany.

In 1699, M. Lister in his "Journey to Paris"  notes:

"They stamped and falsified the best ancient medals so well."

-- that you wouldn't think a Popperian process took place.

"To  falsify" can also be used to mean to get up in imitation of  something

Thus in 1589, again in G. Puttenham's "Arte of English Poesie" we  find:

"The Lapidarie counterfeits pearls and precious stones by glass and  other
substances falsified, and sophisticate by art."

The implicature being that this is not so bad, as they do look 
sophisticated, even if falsified.

In an Austinian (after J. L. Austin),  'to falsify' may be used also to
mean to declare or prove to be  false.

This is the earliest use, and thus displaying its original and  only sense:

In 1449, R. Pecock in his popular "Repressor" writes:

"Forto  falsify this present xiije. conclusion."

A pretty Popperian usage -- the earliest one, as it applies to the 
falsification of a conclusion.

In 1576, W. Lambarde, in his  "Perambulation of Kent", notes:

"He shall have cause, neither to falsify the one opinion lightly, nor to 
faith the other unadvisedly."

But that's for the Man of Kent (not Kentish men) only.

In 1805, T.  Jefferson, an American, in his "Writings", notes that

"No man can falsify any material fact here stated."

This is a performative, and has the force -- or illocutionary force -- of 
an imperative, more specifically a moral prohibition, if not a legal one.

In 1849, C. Stovel, in "Canne's Necessitie of Separation", notes:

"Relinquishing all claim to respect by falsifying  their own  affirmations."

This is interesting, since to falsify is contrasted with to affirm -- and 
thus related to 'to deny'. It reminds one of Epimenides, who also falsified
his  own affirmation ("I lie.").

In 1876, J. B. Mozley in his "Sermons," writes:

"The rights of conscience belong so much to the morality of  society  now,
that they must falsify any moral creed opposed to them."

-- implicating: affirm any moral creed agreeing with them.

Especially in Scots Law, we speak of "to falsify a doom", i.e. to  false a

Thus in 1528, in T. Littleton Tenures, we read:

"It shall not  lie in the mouth of the tenant to falsify or defeat the
recovery which was  against his lord."

The implicature is that the tenant did not do it.

In 1628, in E.  Coke's popular "Institutional Laws of England",  we find:

"To falsify in legal understanding is to prove false, that is, to avoid or 
to defeat."

Since H. L. A. Hart was wedded (figuratively) to 'defeasibility' 
('defeaters) he could be called a Popperian, as far as Scots law was originally 

In 1642, in "Perkins's Profitable Book", we find:

"His wife shall falsify this recovery in a writ of dower."

And she did!

In 1817, W. Selwyn, in his "Abridgement of English Law",  writes:

"The sentence was conclusive evidence to falsify the warranty."

And so one wonders if Popper is being Toulminian (for whom all  reasoning
is legal in nature) or Toulmin is being Popperian.

In 1854, J. W. Smith, in his "Manual of Equity", notes:

"To give liberty to falsify the account"

-- i.e. to allow such a Popperian manoeuvre.

"To falsify" can also be used to mean to fail in fulfilling, or   prevent
the fulfilment of (a prediction, expectation,  etc.).

Thus  in 1598, Shakespeare, in his rather boring "Henry IV, Pt. 1", writes:

"By so much shall I falsify men's hopes."

Implicating "not THAT much."

In 1719, J. Addison, in his  "Evidence for Christian Religion", notes: 

"Jews and Pagans united all their endeavours to baffle and falsify the 

The implicature seems to be they failed.

In 1851, W. Collins, in "Rambles beyond Railways," notes:

"The prognostications of our Cornish friends were  pleasantly falsified."

It did not rain. Had it rained, I would not still call them 'friends' if 

In 1884 in The Liverpool Daily Post for 10 July 5 we  read:

"To  consider whether we are contented to falsify his high regard  for  us."

Of course not! Nobody should falsify a high regard -- especially if it is 
for us.

"To falsify" can also be used to mean to make a false  representation or
statement; to deal in falsehoods.

Thus, in 1629,  in a translation of Herodian, we find:

"Julian was condemned by the  soldiery, for falsifying with them."

-- Never falsify with a soldier -- his implicature, unless you do like to 
be condemned.

In 1646, Sir T. Browne, in his overpopular "Pseudodoxia Epidemica",  notes:

"His wisdom will hardly permit him to falsify with  the Almighty."

implicating God. The implicature of 'hardly' is less clear -- cfr. The 

In 1702, in the English Theophrastus, we find:

"The practice of falsifying with men will lead us on insensibly to a 
double-dealing with God himself."

The implicature being: "and we don't want that." Double-dealing is a good 
way to describe Popper's methodology.

In 1748, in S. Richardson's  romantic novel, "Clarissa," we read:

"Would you either falsify or  prevaricate?"

i.e. would you either be Popperian or Griceian ("Do not say what you 
believe to be false").

Clarissa did not answer (Implicating: neither).

In 1816, R. B.  Sheridan in his often represented, "School for Scandal"
notes: I

"To propagate a malicious truth wantonly is more despicable than to falsify
from revenge."

Which is anti-Popperian in spirit: he is seeing something as being better 
than falsifying: to propagate a truth, when this truth is malicious. Not the
type of truth that D. Miller ascribes to Popper, "Snow is white", which he
learned from Tarski in a park in Vienna.

To "falsify" may also be used to mean to prove false to, fail to keep;  to
break,  violate (one's faith, word, etc.).

Thus, in 1532, in T. More "Confutation of Tyndale" we find:

"I shall finde Tyndale himself so good a fellow as to falsify his own 
words here and bear a poor man company."

The implicature seems to be that Tyndale was not only a good fellow, but 

In 1590, R. Greene, in his popular "Never too Late",  notes: 

"Æneas falsified his faith to Dido."

-- but his fate was to found Rome, so shall we forgive him?

In 1670,  Milton, in his "History of Britain", notes:

"Falsifying that oath, by night with all the Hhorse they had stole to 

A very bad Miltonian thing -- if Popperian.

"To falsify" can also  be used to mean to prove faint; to fail, give way.

Thus, in 1668,  in S. Pepys's "Diary" for 27 Aug., we find:

"My heart beginning to  falsify in this business."

But my brain finishing.

In fencing, incidentally, if you are into that sort of thing, to  falsify
may be used to mean to feign (a blow); to make (a blow) under cover  of a

Thus, in 1595, in V.  Saviolo "Practice", we  read:

"If you perceive that he go about to falsifie upon you, put yourself  in
your ward."

unless you don't know the first thing about fencing.

In 1600, E.  Fairfax, transalting Tasso's "Godfrey of Bulloigne," writes:

"Now  strikes he out, and now he falsifies."

I.e. he is Popperian on occasion ONLY.

In 1619, in the well-known play by Beaumont & Fletcher< "King  &  No King,
we find:

"Tigranes falsified a blow at your leg, which you avoided."

So he tried to falsify, rather.

In 1625, K. Long, translating J. Barclay's "Argenis," writes:

"One of them making offer at his neck with a Halbert, and falsifying his 
blow, hit him under the short rib."

This use is perhaps not Popperian in that Popper never mentions the short 
rib "in modern natural science".

In 1680, S.  Butler in his brilliant "Genuine Remains",  writes:

"As th' are wont to falsify a blow."

Very poetical.

Then there's "falsified":

As in 1577, in a translation of Bullinger's Godly Sermons":

"They do defile and blemish the words of God, which deck them  with
straunge and falsified titles."

i.e. false titles, simpliciter.

In 1603, in R. Knolles, "General  History of the Turks":

"Your falsified faith."

Is it a faith? Implicature: No. Just as a decoy (a false duck) ain't a 

In 1649, in Milton's "Tenure of Kings," we read:

"With the falsified names of loyalty and obedience, to colour  over their
base compliances."

A bad Miltonian thing -- if Popperian in _letter_.

In 1886, in the  Pall Mall Gazette for 1 July  6/1 we read:

"The falsified  prediction is a good omen."

It won't rain, so the Cowes Regatta will be enjoyed by all!

And  there's also "falsifying":

As in 1565, in J. Jewel's "Defense and Apology of the Church of  England":

"Lies, Corruptions, and Falsifyings." -- NOT an essay on Popperianism,  but
almost! (1/3).

In 1603, in R.  Johnson, translating G. Botero's  "History and Description
of the World," we find:

"Cloth, which by reason  of exceeding falsifying and dearnesse of  ours,
grows every day into more and  more request."

The implicature is that he was a closet nudist.

In 1652, in T.  Urquhart's "Εκσκυβαλαυρον", we find:

"He showed such excellent dexterity,  in warding the other's blows,
slighting his falsifyings."

By verifying them.

In 1680, in R. Boyle's "Experiments & Notes Producibleness  of Chemicall
Principles", we get Popperian when we read:

"Purifying it from the falsifying alloy."

In 1699, in the "New  Dictionary for the Canting Crew", we find an entry
for "Feinting or Falsifying"  that should have pleased Popper.

Or not.

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