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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The treatment of negation has long been linked to the treatment of opposition between propositions (or sentences) and between terms (or subsentential constituents). The primary types of opposition, usefully displayed on the post-Aristotelian Square of Opposition, are contradiction (two contradictories always differ in truth value) and contrariety (two contraries can both be false, but not both be true). The law of non-contradiction governs both oppositions, while the law of excluded middle applies only to contradictories. In principle, Aristotle’s semantic category of contradictory opposition lines up with the syntactic category of sentence (vs. constituent) negation, but in practice matters are more complicated, and while Klima’s diagnostics are helpful they are often not decisive. These complications are illustrated by the distribution of affixal negation, the phenomenon of logical double negation, the interaction of negation with quantifiers and modals, and the tendency for formal contradictory negation to be pragmatically strengthened to contrariety.

Keywords: affixal negation, constituent (term) negation, contradictory negation, contrary negation, double negation, Klima diagnostics, law of excluded middle (LEM), law of non-contradiction (LNC), pragmatic strengthening, sentence negation, square of opposition

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