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
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?
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
"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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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"
"To propagate a malicious truth wantonly is more despicable than to falsify
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
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,
"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."
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
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
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.
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