NO-ARGUMENTS Denials, Refutations, Negations and the Constitution of Arguments


  • Shahid Rahman



Negation, Refutation, Constitution of Arguments, Denials


L. Horn’s book The Natural History of Negation (Chicago UP, 1989) set both a landmark on the study of negation and a challenge. The challenge is to find some general way to understand what negation is. In fact, while for logicians and philosophers negation is a sentence building operator standardly understood as the reversal of truth and falsity for linguists negation involves a complex network of phenomena that go beyond the notion of sentence operator. Now, since the arrival and development of new notions of logic, different kinds of negation were formulated – sometimes understood as standing in competition: negations with metalogical features (involving the rejection of non-monotony), negation as different to the fact that a proof of a given proposition is still lacking (involving the rejection of the validity of third excluded), negation as modality (involving the rejection of non-contradiction and ex-falso sequitur quodlibet) and so on. In fact the paper ends with the proposal for a general theory of meaning embracing all these different logical constants.

My aim is to show how the role of negation in argumentation yields an approach general enough to capture the meaning of all this fauna of negative logical constants. The point is thus to show the fruitfulness of an argumentative approach to the study of a notoriously resilient logical constant. Though, it is about how argumentative perspectives can contribute to logical issues, the idea behind is certainly that if the logic is already developed in an argumentative frame; the further task to develop abstract structures to study “real argumentation” should be made easier at least more naturally (more on this perhaps in the discussion)


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How to Cite

Rahman, S. (2020). NO-ARGUMENTS Denials, Refutations, Negations and the Constitution of Arguments. Characteristica Universalis Journal, 1(1), 135–160.