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By Laurence R. Horn

This e-book bargains a different synthesis of previous and present paintings at the constitution, that means, and use of negation and unfavourable expressions, an issue that has engaged thinkers from Aristotle and the Buddha to Freud and Chomsky. Horn's masterful research melds a assessment of scholarship in philosophy, psychology, and linguistics with unique examine, supplying a whole photograph of negation in usual language and notion; this re-creation provides a finished preface and bibliography, surveying study because the book's unique e-book.

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Extra resources for A Natural History of Negation

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More relevant to our purposes is the fact that the universal affirmative (All . Fs are G) is vacuously true if there are no Fs, as is the universal negative. h~ latter position is unarguable, at least when the E proposition is given in ItS 1Ocorporated form (No unicorns are equine). The former claim, however, has often struck critics as a reductio of the proposal that the predicate calculus can adequately model natural language semantics. Do we really want to count All unicorns are equine as true?

Stipulated by Aristotle, Royce, and Wittgenstein (and challenged by others, as we shall also see) dissuade their contemporaries (or, for that matter, themselves) from taking negatives to be inherently asymmetrical with, and in some sense inferior to, their affirmative counterparts. 5 Negation and the Legacy of Aristotle: Retrospect and Prospect Now if the oppositions are contradiction, privation, contrariety, and relatives, and since of these contradiction is primary, and nothing can exist between two contradictories but something may exist between two contraries, it is clear that contradictories and contraries are not the same.

By this criterion, affixal negation (un-, iN-, -less) does not yield (true) negation. In reaching this result, Ayer endorses what is for once a unanimous verdict (or near-unanimous: cf. 2 below): from the Peripatetics and the Stoics, for whom so-called privative statements-A is un-B-were affirmative in nature, to Sigwart (1895: 138), Strawson (1952:7), Zimmer (1964), and H. Clark (1974), it is universally agreed that affixal negation-well, at least most affixal negation (cf. 1)-produces a contrary affirmation, a 'polarization' (Vandamme 1972: 69), rather than a true contradictory.

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