## Negation across cultures

• 114
I put this under the category of general philosophy as it really involves mathematics and language.

I am fascinated by the differences in the understandings and expressions of negation across cultures. I am suspecting that this is where the answer that I seek lies. It has changed over time and throughout different cultures in human interpretation and expression. Even though there are rules of logic taught in academia, general human interpretation and application of negation has an aliveness to it, where it evolves and influences.

Here are some examples of some studies of this topic. I would like to know a little about how members here interpret negation.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Negation_and_Polarity.html?id=cFwQmAEACAAJ

https://content.sciendo.com/configurable/contentpage/journals$002fslgr$002f54$002f1$002farticle-p115.xml
• 5.8k
Negation, in its broadest, most magnificent form, is simply the act of rejection. Negation is to reject, to disagree, to say "no", and given that to accept, to agree, to say "yes" is usually perforce logic or some other, usually sinister force, I must say, perforce logic, that negation stands for real, living, breathing freedom. The ability to not bow to the demands of anything, opposing reason itself, which is invariably a great risk and may involve losing more than an arm or leg, your head perhaps, is freedom in full glory.

Embrace negation in the morning and you may not live to the see the 5 o'clock shadow on your chin but it would be, in my humble opinion, living in absolute freedom. It definitely is not in your interest to adopt this stance nor does this negation benefit others for the glue that keeps society together and the reason why people prefer you alive is affirmation. The choice is quite obvious isn't it? Affirm and live or Negate and die. However we may expose what the choices really mean as that between affirmation, alive but enslaved or negation, free but dead. Reminds me of parasitic memes.
• 978
The ability to not bow to the demands of anything, opposing reason itself, which is invariably a great risk and may involve losing more than an arm or leg, your head perhaps, is freedom in full glory.

We all have the ability to oppose reason, in a manner of speaking, but it seems less than clear to me that exercising that ability is glorious, though it may sometimes be spectacular. One can choose to act stupidly or unreasonably, certainly, and spectacularly so if circumstances permit. Perhaps that's the most those who are deliberately stupid or unreasonable may aspire to in this world.
• 114
When Peirce was at Johns Hopkins, he actually chastised Dewey for not understanding negation.

It's my understanding that instead of 'rejection', negation means 'not'.

"The logical negation of a concept is instead its non-X."
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354067X16645297?journalCode=capa

Please elaborate on what you think are the differences in these two perspectives. Thanks.
• 5.8k
We all have the ability to oppose reason, in a manner of speaking, but it seems less than clear to me that exercising that ability is glorious, though it may sometimes be spectacular. One can choose to act stupidly or unreasonably, certainly, and spectacularly so if circumstances permit. Perhaps that's the most those who are deliberately stupid or unreasonable may aspire to in this world.

I did mention in a clear unambiguous way that negation taken as rejection involves a serious risk to life and limb if we ever reach a point where we reject rationality itself. However, freedom, to be real, requires the ability to reject i.e. negate all influences. I guess some might say I'm referring to radical/fanatical freedom.
• 978
However, freedom, to be real, requires the ability to reject i.e. negate all influences. I guess some might say I'm referring to radical/fanatical freedom.

That we may be free to do something may be a desirable condition to be in, but I don't think we derive glory, or infamy, from being in that condition. That we may derive from the exercise of judgment, i.e what we decide and do while being free.
• 5.8k
I don't think we derive glory, or infamy, from being in that condition

I agree. Got carried away a bit there. Yet, there must be something truly special about being able to negate, reject, deny, say "no" to something as powerful as logic which is as essential to life as the very air we breathe. The mind's ability to negate logic is like having the body having the ability to stop breathing and physiology says we can't do the latter.
• 2k
I guess some might say I'm referring to radical/fanatical freedom.
• 1.2k
Even though there are rules of logic taught in academia, general human interpretation and application of negation has an aliveness to it, where it evolves and influences.

Academia teaches more than just Aristotelian or Classical logic. More to the point, for the "general human interpretation" I would look towards linguistic and social studies more than logic and mathematics.

It would be nice if you could put some substance into your posts - more than just "here are a couple of random references, tell me what you think." Have you read these works? Can you at least write a few words about what they say and how it is relevant to the topic?
• 5.8k
:smile:
• 2k
The mind's ability to negate logic is like having the body having the ability to stop breathing and physiology says we can't do the latter.

We can actually hold our breath temporarily at least, which is a rare thing among animals.

A lot of spiritual practices put special emphasis on breathing (in fact the word "spirit" means "breath" in its oldest usage), and I recall that I once had some interesting thoughts about some relation between the human ability to control our own breath and some other important characteristically human ability like reason, but I can't for the life of me remember what connection it was I saw however long ago it was that I had that thought. Maybe it had something to do with the ability to temporarily suspect automatic functions like breathing being like our ability to not simply react to things but to pause and consider our options before acting.
• 5.8k
Maybe it had something to do with the ability to temporarily suspect automatic functions like breathing being like our ability to not simply react to things but to pause and consider our options before acting

Sound advice if you ask me.

BTW I just realized the image you posted is double negation - rejecting or negating all the nos on ths sign - which comes down to affirmation. Was that intentional? Anyway, this is one of the cool features of negation - allowing us to affirm by twice negating. This isn't possible with affirmation; then again Morgenbesser did say "yeah yeah".
• 1.4k
Anyway, this is one of the cool features of negation - allowing us to affirm by twice negating.
Only in classical logic, thanks to the law of excluded middle. Not in intuitionistic logic. :cool:
• 5.8k
Only in classical logic, thanks to the law of excluded middle. Not in intuitionistic logic.

That's wonderful. Negating the double negation. I tell you, there's something very liberating about negation.
• 406
I would like to know a little about how members here interpret negation.

1) As a word's (or other symbol's) happening not to point at an object

2) As some corresponding negative's (or antonym's) happening to point at the object

Each of which probably implies the other, in some way that would help explain global patterns of word-pointing. Such as, the tendency of a scheme of words towards "sorting" of a domain of objects, through pointing out of (more or less) mutually exclusive but jointly exhaustive sub-domains.
• 616
I would like to know a little about how members here interpret negation.
I have no idea what Pierce meant by "negation". But there is an important distinction between NOT (contradiction) and NOT (absence), The latter is an existential qualifier : does not exist. In that sense, it is not just contradictory of the postulate, but destructive.

"That's a negatory, Big Daddy" :smile:
• 114
I have no idea what Pierce meant by "negation". But there is an important distinction between NOT (contradiction) and NOT (absence), The latter is an existential qualifier : does not exist. In that sense, it is not just contradictory of the postulate, but destructive.

"That's a negatory, Big Daddy" :smile:

Thank you for your insight, Gnomon. :smile:

This is a subject I have been studying and am very interested in. I think this is excellent evidence of the destructiveness of Ockham's nominalism and Descartes reductionism.

SophistiCat mentioned the difference between negation in linguistics versus negation in mathematics and logic. I would argue that negation in logic and linguistics are historical cousins, and that modern negation doesn't properly take into account the 'NOT' contradiction that you mentioned (see link below about the Jespersen Cycle) .

Since Descartes, science has taken a path of slicing and discarding (negation as rejection) that which is a contradiction, when any contradiction should remain held up in the light of what relation it has to the 'subject of study', 'the entity of focus', etc., whether we are talking about science OR the use of language and how we interact with each other as human beings. From a psychological perspective, it seems to make sense that the misguided influences of dyadic nominalism/dualism/reductionism in our language deviously encourages divisiveness (LOTS of examples in how members interact with each other on this forum). It all makes me wonder about what we have lost, and may never be able to recover, due to the misguided dyadic negation versus the more thorough triadic negation posited by Peirce.

THIS is what I think Charle S. Peirce was trying to get through to Dewey, and why Peirce changed the name of his pragmatism to 'pragmaticism' to distinguish it from William James and John Dewey. He felt his new term for his 'pragmaticism' was too ugly a term to steal and pollute with the American tidal wave of dyadic philosophies of the time. William James said that he "owed everything to Peirce", because he actually took Peirce's work and distorted it to meet the popular desires of the then exciting ontological individualism in the new found America. Peirce didn't publicly admonish James, because James did help Peirce financially, but he was definitely bothered by how his work was distorted.

I'm glad there are scholars today studying the enormous changes that occurred during human history since the time of Duns Scotus when these systems of thought took such a destructive turn. Unfortunately, we can't go back and change that, and we can only try to survive with the legacy handed down to us. I only wish more people understood what happened and how we got here. Perhaps if they understood, more people might step back for a moment when we interact with each other, and take the time to really listen to what they might normally discard in other perspectives, and then perhaps learn more from each other, and make the world a little safer and kinder.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jespersen%27s_Cycle

Here is an excellent video on the history of pragmatism. I think you will enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRnqmU66DaQ
• 616
Since Descartes, science has taken a path of slicing and discarding (negation as rejection) that which is a contradiction,
Descartes introduced a "pragmatic" dualism in order to avoid a violent conflict between Science and Religion in his day. Monolithic Catholicism was fragmenting into rebellious Protestant sects, and Science was beginning to challenge the Church for revelation of Truth. By drawing an imaginary line between Fact and Faith (Non-Overlapping Magisteria), he hoped to avoid an all-out war that would likely snuff-out the tiny flame of Empirical Reason. Even his Deism may have been a pragmatic compromise between evidence and intuition.

My BothAnd philosophy is also a pragmatic (non-ideal) solution to the current clash of values in the world, as exemplified by religious terrorists and angry atheists. It requires self-doubt and compromise in place of absolute Faith and Jihad/Crusade against infidels. The destructive Negation problem is due to Either/Or absolutism on both sides.

Both/And Principle : My coinage for the holistic principle of Complementarity, as illustrated in the Yin/Yang symbol. Opposing or contrasting concepts are always part of a greater whole. Conflicts between parts can be reconciled or harmonized by putting them into the context of a whole system.
http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html
• 114
Both/And Principle : My coinage for the holistic principle of Complementarity, as illustrated in the Yin/Yang symbol. Opposing or contrasting concepts are always part of a greater whole. Conflicts between parts can be reconciled or harmonized by putting them into the context of a whole system.
http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html

I agree with everything you've said. You and Peirce actually have quite a bit in common. Your 'Complementarity' has much in common with the 'Continuity' of Peirce's synechism. Yours is 'dyadic' within the 'whole', but doesn't the 'whole' constitute the 3rd aspect? Just from a broader perspective? Analyzing the harmonization factors close-up would reveal the 'triadic' nature (interaction via semiosis). This is why 'negation' is so interesting to me. It can be studied in application (science, language, culture)

Perhaps what you and I should be discussing is the differences between your 'non-ideal' Both/And Principal and Peirce's 'objective' idealism. It's important to remember when reflecting on the history of philosophy that these renowned thinkers presented their positions 'in contrast' to other lines of thought during their time, as you so succinctly pointed to in your comments about Descartes (the direction of the conflicts was in place long before his work). I suppose it's what keeps modern day philosophers excited about debating the details of the history of metaphysics.

The history of thought is very much like a river, with organisms floating on top of and treading water, but always subjected to the current. Much the same might be said about information, correct? :smile:
• 970

You've said positive AND negative thing about Duns Scotus on this forum. I find it confusing because you do not make clear what you like about him and what you don't. You seem to have so many ideas in your head that you made broad statements, without any clarification. Descartes denied that there were spiritual natures uniting with "prime matter" to make things. So basically he was a nominalist. I don't see why this is a big deal or what is has to do with Peirce. It's just a technical questions about how close in similarity a willow tree is to a palm tree. What has this to do with objective idealism? Thanks!
• 114
My BothAnd philosophy is also a pragmatic (non-ideal) solution to the current clash of values in the world, as exemplified by religious terrorists and angry atheists. It requires self-doubt and compromise in place of absolute Faith and Jihad/Crusade against infidels. The destructive Negation problem is due to Either/Or absolutism on both sides.

Gnomon, this friend of mine on YouTube (Marcos) just came out with another great video. We have highlighted each other's channels on our own, as there are so many levels of learning capabilities in others out there. My work is geared to starting at very basic levels of thinking and walking forward. Marcos's work is more advanced. I couldn't help but think of you while I watched his newest video. Perhaps you can find some interesting things in it to reflect upon for new additions to your site. https://youtu.be/5kVsjq0m9TI
Warmest regards,
Cathy
• 114
I corrected the above link. Cheers! :wink:
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