[lit-ideas] Re: : The nothing noths or not

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 09:03:27 +0100

According to some brief checking I have done, Greek permits / requires
double negation in some cases, similarly as in Serbian.  Thus "I haven't
done anything" would literally be expressed as "I haven't done nothing."
(This usage is not standard in English but it is found in Southern American
and Afro-American English.) By inference, "Nobody goes to the Agora" would
not mean the same as in standard English because, without the double
negation, it would imply, on the face of it, that there really is a Nobody
who goes to the Agora. Perhaps this could be the origin of Heidegger's
usage, but I am just guessing.

It wasn't suggested that ordinary or standard English usage (or any
lingustic usage) must be the arbiter of metaphysical speculation, but that
some cogent argument would be required if we are to over-rule it.

O.K.



On Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 8:25 AM, Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>  Within English (usage) there is no strict guideline, for those who
> believe that grammars are normative objects, mostly invented by decrepit
> idiots in the media and selling books on punctuation and ‘eats shoot
> leaves’ as recent bestseller zeroed on in  the point.
>
> In many languages you can use a determiner with functional equivalents of
> nothing.
>
> It is utterly imbecilic to hang fine points of speculative metaphysics on
> dubious etymology, since
>
> a.     The points do not generalize (Kusturica is correct, the dem
> particles sounds ok in many cases as in “the unicorn” as in “the Marx
> Badiou likes is a non existent character in a lacanian soap opera”, “the
> santa claus of supermarkets is an employee dressed in red” and “the santa
> claus children worship does not exist”, some even go to the length of “the
> jesus of the gospel never existed”, but equally for a fictionalist in
> mathematics “numbers do not exist, therefore the number three does not
> exist either”) It remains, to my ear an open question whether the
> expression the nothing would pass muster by this queer discussions
> engendered by the nazi buffoons and his friend buttman
>
> b.     Even if it were established by empirical methods that a particular
> phrase that usage license it, in Greek say, the discovery that what is
> atomic is such that it is indivisible, nothing stops and stopped in the
> past to split atoms, hence, I surmise sentences such as Fermi at Batavia
> split atoms, as predicted by the prior theory-  are just fine. The
> complaint that ‘atom’ is the “unsplit(table)” can be made only by idiots
>
> Before one worries about the adject “speculative” in the prior sentence,
> Heideggerian metaphysics is speculative for the simple reason that there is
> no argument for it (what determines that a hammer is not hammer if not at
> hand? Which argument was given to claim that “people” are afraid of dying?
>
>
>
> Bestest
>
>
>
> *From:* lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:
> lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Omar Kusturica
> *Sent:* 20 February 2015 08:26
> *To:* lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> *Subject:* [lit-ideas] Re: The nothing noths
>
>
>
> 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.
>
>
>
> O.K.
>
>
>
> 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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