[quickphilosophy] An Anscombe Error Regarding Negation?

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2010 13:45:27 -0700 (PDT)

  
On page 69-70 of her book Anscombe writes,

It is clear that [in negation] one must convey what situation one is saying 
does 

not  exist, and this will be conveyed precisely by the picture depicting that 
situation.  No other picture could be involved: you could not for example make 
a 

picture of the situation's not existing.  We must be careful not to confuse 
what 

is not the case with what is the case instead of it; if you tried to make a 
picture of a situation's not existing you would only make a picture of what did 
exist instead of it.  The only exception to this is when we have the convention 
that not shewing something shews that the thing does not exist: as when a map 
shews that no large river passes through Birmingham by not shewing a river 
passing through Birmingham.

Today at least one convention for a pictorial "not" is very commonplace: a 
circle with a diagonal line through it placed over the original picture.  Of 
course, this may be (and often is) taken to mean "Do not ____", but there's 
nothing sacrosanct about this indicator being used as a command rather than 
descriptively.  


It seems to me that both W and Anscombe go through a lot of convolutions to 
avoid relying on anything like Frege's assertion sign.  Pictures are different 
from props in that they depict only--and don't also say that what is depicted 
is 

the case the way asserting a prop does. But it doesn't seem problematic to have 
a convention according to which adding a mark to any picture would mean that it 
is intended to be "non-fiction. "  I get the sense that W may here be overly 
fond of avoiding reliance on "saying" in favor of some sort of intrinsic 
property/element that can "show" what would otherwise have to be said.  


Walto


      

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