By Laurence R. Horn
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Extra resources for A Natural History of Negation
B. Some pleasure is not good. c. It is light and it is not good. For the Stoics, as for Aristotle and the Peripatetics, every proposition is either negative or affirmative, so the propositions in (26) count as affirmative. Apuleius, accepting this as his starting point, distinguishes the ABDlCATIVA (negative) proposition from the DEDlCATlVA (assertive). He may have been the first to recognize what was to become a recurring motif for the developers of the negative theme: the observation that an affirmative proposition may be logically equivalent to a negative counterpart, as in the pair (27) a.
Ayer ( 1963) considers this issue in greater depth. He begins by distinguishing the relatively straightforward task of defining the NEGATION-OF relation from the much more difficult (if not impossible) aim of determining what makes a statement negative. , lackendoff 1969) of today. 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.
P', etc. etc. ). And this common factor mirrors [spiegelt] negation. 2, the fact that no clear criteria have been adduced for defining a class of negative propositions has not deterred centuries of scholars from debating the true nature of the negative proposition. ) 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.