The current obsession with "Gone Missing"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 9 00:58:33 UTC 2009

At 8:13 PM -0400 6/8/09, Mark Mandel wrote:
>On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:27 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:
>>  Indeed, there have been arguments going
>>  back centuries for eliminating negation from natural languages on the
>>  grounds that it's uninformative.  Evidently, these arguments have not
>>  been successful.
>BUZZZ! Make that "Evidently, these arguments have failed."
Ah, but that wouldn't have proved the point.  (There's also the sad
case of Professor Bumblowski, Russell's fictitious Central European
colleague and protagonist of "The Metaphysician's Nightmare", who
swears off negation as "a bad linguistic habit" and henceforth
replaces "This eggs is not fresh" by "Chemical changes have occurred
in this egg after it was laid" and "I cannot find that book" by "The
books I have found are other than that book".  I'm sure all those
anti-vagueness crusaders would approve.)


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