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The concept of truth that rejects both opposites disjunctively as well as conjunctively is the more absolute. For to the question whether God exists, there can be no more unrestricting response than that (1) it is not the case that He either exists or does not exist and (2) it is not the case that He both exists and does not exist.


                   —Nicolas Cusanus

                      Apice­ Theoria (1464)



Contradiction, one might say, vanishes outside all propositions: tautology vanishes inside them. Contradiction is the outer limit of propositions: tautology is the unsubstantial point at their center.


                   —Ludwig Wittgenstein

                      Tractatus­ Logico-Philosophicus, 5.143 (1927)










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2.8  This set which is not one


 Of the two negations, which is the more radical? If by “radical” we mean ‘out there’ that would be not (2); if we recenter its root in Latin radix, that would be not (1)—for where (2) rejects contradiction, (1) rejects tautology. Between this center point and its outer limit, Cusanus, like Wittgenstein, evacuates illegitimate import from a propositional logic that, following Leibniz, assigns ‘truth values’ to pairwise posits only after presupposing the existence of the subjects and the predicability of the predicates. While Leibniz would object that #1 rather is the case (for “anything follows from a contradiction”), Kant would object that neither 1 nor 2 proposes anything at all (for “exists is not a predicate”). As such, “to the question whether [any subject whatsoever] exists,” not least the Cartesian subject indexed by such pronouns as “I”, the “concept of truth that rejects both opposites” necessarily yields the very same (non­-)answer. You can reuse this redoubled rejection, for example, the next time some idiot foists a so-called ‘yes or no question’ upon you. 

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