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Prefixing Negation

 
 
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 03:35 pm
Some of our most important/fascinating words are created by means of the negative prefix. For instance, "ab-solute," "in-dependent," "no-thingness," "in-finite," "un-conditioned," "e-ternal," etc.

Related to this is the use of the prefix "trans," as in "tran(s)-cendent," and "tran(s)-cendental."

Negation seems to work as a sort of distancing. Is eternity conceivable except as the negation of time? Is infinity conceivable except as the negation of the finite? It seems that negative prefixes help to push us to the limits of thought. The "trans" prefix also does this. To "transcend" is to go beyond. What is "beyond"? In philosophy, I think it has this use.

Quote:

3.outside the understanding, limits, or reach of; past: beyond comprehension; beyond endurance; beyond help.

Any thoughts on this?
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Reconstructo
 
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Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 04:21 pm
@Reconstructo,
I've continued to think on this. It's amazing how useful negative words are. A simple word like "not." Is "not" a minus sign?

If concepts are circles (a metaphor), then negative words like "not" or negative prefixes are like minus signs or crossings-out. Lacan like to write some of his mathemes "barred" or cross. This is just a graphical use of the not concept.

Is philosophy impossible without negation?
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kennethamy
 
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Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 05:00 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;132961 wrote:
Some of our most important/fascinating words are created by means of the negative prefix. For instance, "ab-solute," "in-dependent," "no-thingness," "in-finite," "un-conditioned," "e-ternal," etc.

Related to this is the use of the prefix "trans," as in "tran(s)-cendent," and "tran(s)-cendental."

Negation seems to work as a sort of distancing. Is eternity conceivable except as the negation of time? Is infinity conceivable except as the negation of the finite? It seems that negative prefixes help to push us to the limits of thought. The "trans" prefix also does this. To "transcend" is to go beyond. What is "beyond"? In philosophy, I think it has this use.


Any thoughts on this?


The morpheme "in" in "inflammatory" is not a negative prefix. More interestingly. To say that something is "unreal" is to say of it that it is imaginary or hallucinatory. "Unreal" is actually the positive term. And, to say that someone is "unfree: is to assert that he is restricted in some ways. Whereas to say of someone that he is free, is to say of him that he does not have restrictions on him. Negative morphemes are tricky.
Reconstructo
 
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Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 05:22 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;133369 wrote:
To say that something is "unreal" is to say of it that it is imaginary or hallucinatory.


Sure, a negation often turns a word into its antonym. It's a powerful tool. I'm probably after something that's not your cup of tea, as I find negative theology fascinating, as well as noumena, Being, and consciousness. I'm also looking at negation as a distancing. For instance, in relation to the anxiety of influence. Also I'm focused on negative prefixes as they are used in metaphysics.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 05:55 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;133377 wrote:
Sure, a negation often turns a word into its antonym. It's a powerful tool. I'm probably after something that's not your cup of tea, as I find negative theology fascinating, as well as noumena, Being, and consciousness. I'm also looking at negation as a distancing. For instance, in relation to the anxiety of influence. Also I'm focused on negative prefixes as they are used in metaphysics.


You are right. I have no idea what you are driving at. (I know about "the way of negation" in theology, of course. We can know what God is not, but not what He is.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 06:16 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;133388 wrote:
You are right. I have no idea what you are driving at. (I know about "the way of negation" in theology, of course. We can know what God is not, but not what He is.


We built a God out of minus-signs. For me, this is fascinating. To things principally amuse me at the moment, the transcendental concept and the transcendental numen, both inferred. Negation aids in abstaction. To abstract is to purify, to wash off the mud of contingency. I see why number and geometry were so important to Pythagoras, Parmenides, and Plato. (P Cubed.)
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Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 04:43 am
@Reconstructo,
It seems to me at the moment that pure concept is a nothingness, or the presence of an absence, and that Parmenides was close to this, only to be perhaps improved by Kant & Hegel. Kant put a minus sign on Parmenides' "One," I think, and Hegel explained how this minus sign drove logos to unveil the transcendental in the first place. The concept of the concept---but utterly washed of the incidental, utterly digital.... if that's what it is, it was staring us in the face....
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Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 04:15 pm
@Reconstructo,
The negative is also positive. Abstractions exist as the negations of accident. To negate accident is to synthesis (posit) abstraction. This seems very important, as we are dealing with the structure of thinking itself.
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