[lit-ideas] Re: The nothing noths

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 07:26:11 +0100

I'll not go into German usage, but in English 'The Nothing' seems
ungrammatical. Adding the definite article implies that 'Nothing' is really
an entity, which doesn't seem to be what an English speaker intuits about
it. (Compare "the unicorn") It may be that Nothing could or should be
viewed as an entity of sorts, but I would not concede this without seeing
some kind of argument instead of arbitrary decision.


On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 8:56 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Nothing noths...
> On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 6:02 PM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
> DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> We love D. P. Henry. Apparenty, he could read Heidegger in various
>> vernaculars!
>> In a message dated 2/19/2015 10:03:19 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
>> Carnap is too poor an enemy against which  to pit Heidegger
>> Perhaps Ayer then. Apparently, Sir Freddie Ayer learned a lot from
>> Carnap.
>> Re: O. K.'s request for references, one should check the bibliographical
>> references to J. L. Scherb in "Philosophisches Jahrbuch", vol. 115.
>> Scherb's essay is entitled
>> "Nichtet das Nichts wirklich nicht?
>> and subtitled:
>> Analyse und Explikation: oder: eine deutsche Vorkriegsdebatte  europäisch
>> belichtet" and while he does focus on the German context, he provides  the
>> reference to D. P. Henry and Lesniewski among others.
>> We have to grant that Scherb does base his exegesis on, to echo McEvoy,
>> Carnap v Heidegger, where Popper v Heidegger and Witters v Carnap (and
>> Ayer v
>> Carnap, say) seem also v. valid, too.
>> Note that the title of Scherb's essay translates:
>> So, does the nothing really NOT noth?
>> which should amuse Ayer (and Carnap): the negation of nonsense IMPLICATES
>> nonsense (but the implicature is of course cancellable and
>> conversational),
>> but  of course does not *entail* nonsense.
>> (cf. "It is false that the nothing noths"; or, to use Carnap's example,
>> "Caesar is not a prime number; in fact, Caesar is not a number").
>> The addition of 'really' is merely stylistic -- what Austin called a
>> 'trouser word'.
>> Cheers,
>> Speranza
>> Refs:
>> Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic -- reference to Heidegger on  "Nothing"
>> Grice, "Heidegger is the greatest living philosopher".
>> Henry, D. P.
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