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All Brutes Are Subhuman: Aristotle and Ockham on Private Negation

John N. Martin
Synthese
Vol. 134, No. 3 (Mar., 2003), pp. 429-461
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117343
Page Count: 33
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All Brutes Are Subhuman: Aristotle and Ockham on Private Negation
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Abstract

The mediaeval logic of Aristotelian privation, represented by Ockham's exposition of All A is non-P as All S is of a type T that is naturally P and no S is P, is critically evaluated as an account of privative negation. It is argued that there are two senses of privative negation: (1) an intensifier (as in subhuman), the dual of Neoplatonic hypernegation (superhuman), which is studied in linguistics as an operator on scalar adjectives, and (2) a (often lexicalized) Boolean complement relative to the extension of a privative negation in sense (1) (e.g., Brute). This second sense, which is the privative negation discussed in modern linguistics, is shown to be Aristotle's. It is argued that Ockham's exposition fails to capture much of the logic of Aristotelian privation due to limitations in the expressive power of the syllogistic.

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