Change de lieu

Arranging an appointment at Reid Bros Motor Sales in response to a manufacturer’s recall notice was for me equivalent to accepting an invitation to a welcome social event. While I won’t pretend to cherish the receipt of a recall notice, the overwhelming dissatisfaction is to endure mechanical impurity. Knowing that absolution awaits is by far the more desirable peril! For days I had lived in anticipation of fulfillment of the purgation and deliverance. Last evening for example I tactfully ensured that my alarm was set well in advance of the predicted departure time to guarantee arrival when scheduled.  So enthused was I by the possibilities that I had already formulated in my mind discussing with the Service Advisor (Alex or Phil) whether it were opportune to change the oil in addition to the customary ceremony of checking the tire air pressure. The prospects positively abounded!

Upon my arrival at the threshold of dispensation, Alex swiftly addressed my routine concerns and invited me in turn to await recall.  I accordingly directed myself upon my stick to a remote corner of the automotive display room where I instantly immersed myself in the review of improving literature, a snippet of which here follows.

March 14, 2024

Il y a eu des tentatives de démarquer la science de la non-science depuis l’Antiquité : « Pour être scientifique », a déclaré Aristote, « il faut traiter les causes, il faut utiliser la démonstration logique et identifier les universaux qui sont « inhérentes » aux particuliers du sens. » (Laudan 1983)

Excerpt From
Sfetcu, Nicolae. “La distinction entre falsification et rejet dans le problème de la démarcation de Karl Popper.”

If you’re having trouble capturing the thrust of “demarcation”, then the following may assist:

Popper accordingly rejects the view that induction is the characteristic method of scientific investigation and inference, substituting falsifiability in its place. It is easy, he argues, to obtain evidence in favour of virtually any theory, and he consequently holds that such “corroboration”, as he terms it, should count scientifically only if it is the positive result of a genuinely “risky” prediction, which might conceivably have been false. In a critical sense, Popper’s theory of demarcation is based upon his perception of the asymmetry which, at the level of logic, holds between verification and falsification: it is logically impossible to verify a universal proposition by reference to experience (as Hume saw clearly), but a single genuine counter-instance falsifies the corresponding universal law. In a word, an exception, far from “proving” a rule, conclusively refutes it.

Popper was by any standard a free thinker.  I understand too that he qualified as a liberal personality which is to say (at least by my hasty conjecture) less than customarily restrained, inhibited or prejudiced. But he was by no means a nerd or brainy whack.

Karl Raimund Popper was born on 28 July 1902 in Vienna. His parents, who were of Jewish origin, brought him up in an atmosphere which he was later to describe as “decidedly bookish”. His father was a lawyer by profession, but he also took a keen interest in the classics and in philosophy, and communicated to his son an interest in social and political issues. His mother inculcated in him such a passion for music that for a time he contemplated taking it up as a career; he initially chose the history of music as a second subject for his Ph.D. examination. Subsequently, his love for music became one of the inspirational forces in the development of his thought, and manifested itself in his highly original interpretation of the relationship between dogmatic and critical thinking, in his account of the distinction between objectivity and subjectivity, and, most importantly, in the growth of his hostility towards all forms of historicism, including historicist ideas about the nature of the “progressive” in music.

At one time he was a left-wing political advocate (but became dillillusioned with dotrinaire Marxism); he heard Einstein lecture on relativity theory. Popper significantly took time to settle on a career (adopting what I identify as absorption in the “trades”, a segment I feel is currently enjoying a hearty revival not to mention utility). He trained as a cabinetmaker, obtained a primary school teaching diploma in 1925 and qualified to teach mathematics and physics in secondary school in 1929. He undertook a doctoral programme with the department of psychology at the University of Vienna, then under the supervision of Karl Bühler, one of the founding members of the Würzburg school of experimental psychology.

For Popper, the growth of human knowledge proceeds from our problems and from our attempts to solve them. These attempts involve the formulation of theories which must go beyond existing knowledge and therefore require a leap of the imagination. For this reason, he places special emphasis on the role played by the creative imagination in theory formulation. The priority of problems in Popper’s account of science is paramount, and it is this which leads him to characterise scientists as “problem-solvers”. Further, since the scientist begins with problems rather than with observations or “bare facts”, he argues that the only logical technique which is an integral part of scientific method is that of the deductive testing of theories which are not themselves the product of any logical operation.

I believe you’ll acknowledge that this is fairly heady stuff!  And rather than contaminate what little nutrition might now be flow from this exceedingly narrow view of the subject, I’d prefer to skip over any further extrapolation. It only remains to add but a vague allusion to climate change (appended below), an atmospheric subject which parenthetically was not inescapable in a grounded automobile show room where the latest devices being modelled were entirely electric (and, by the way, of some astounding proportions reminiscent of the erstwhile vulgarity called a “Hummer”). The Western cowboy is of a new prescription to be certain!

And one last reference, if you’ll allow me.  This morning while blending into the lounge chair at Reid Bros Motor Sales, questioning my linquistic ability to fathom the esoteric perambulations of Karl Popper, I stumbled upon the more memorable capitulations of Jean Genet who, as I was unhappily reminded had spent time in prison for what I am quite sure Karl Popper would find offensive.


The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.

The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations together to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.