There Is No Negation

“There is no negation,” which means there are only positions, or positives. The sentence is a double-negative in and of itself, which is actually a positive, so the grammatical rule concerning double-negatives is meaningless as a grammatical rule and would seem to mostly just have to do with efficiency when using language. It makes sense because, “He went to the mall,” is certainly less cumbersome than, “He refrained from not going to the mall,” or even the shorter, “He did not not go to the mall.”

The point is that any negative can be expressed as a positive and the very concept of negation is a tool that exists only to make language more efficient, not because any particular thing can actually be negated, which is to say, not expressed as a positive. You could say, “There is no God,” or you could say, “There is an absence of a God.” The two statements have the same meaning, but the second is stated as a positive rather than a negative.

Furthermore, the lack of a particular thing’s existence cannot be proven Empirically without that thing being given a specific context. For instance, you could say, “There is no elephant in that room,” or expressed positively, “An elephant is absent from that room,” but you cannot simply say, “There is no elephant.”

There are many who would suggest that a thing can be negated by a value greater than the thing that is to be negated. For example, if one were to look at a company’s balance sheet and see that the company has $80,000 in revenues for the year against $640,000 in expenses one would put the income for the company at negative $560,000 which would be denoted by parenthesis. Naturally, I’m not suggesting that the manner of doing that is incorrect, but I’m stating that the negative balance could still be expressed as a positive. For example, we could simply say that, “Expenses were 800% of revenues for this year,” or, “The difference between revenues and expenses favored expenses by $560,000,” and both are positive statements. The reason that no true negation exists in this example is because both the revenues and the expenses are positives. The $80,000 revenues are the $80,000 revenues regardless of how they relate to expenses and the same goes for the $640,000 expenses regardless of how they relate to the revenues.

A company cannot have negative $80,000 in revenues any more than it can have negative $560,000 in expenses.

In some cases still, the zeroes simply need to be changed.

I personally find it ridiculous that a temperature can be expressed as a negative such as negative fifteen (-15) degrees. What the Hell does that even mean? We establish a completely arbitrary zero point (also meaningless because it does not reflect zero) and use it as a basis for saying what the temperature is. As a side note, the very concept of a zero temperature is also arbitrary and meaningless because how can it not be a temperature at any given point in time? Zero implies nothing which implies that no temperature exists.

Can you imagine that, asking someone, “What’s the temperature outside?”

Then having the person respond, “There isn’t one.”

You’d probably think they were crazy, either that, or they would mean such a statement as a somewhat witty way of saying what we call, “Zero,” which I sometimes do. Personally, I think that what we refer to as, “Absolute zero,” (The lowest temperature theoretically attainable, by the way, attainable means it exists, theoretically in this case) should become the new one degree (1) Fahrenheit, and all of our temperatures should be adjusted accordingly. If not that, then, whatever the coldest temperature we have ever artifically achieved should become the new one (1) and we could go based off of that.

Of course, a temperature currently known as seventy (70) degrees Fahrenheit would become 530.67 degrees, and five-hundred (500) degrees would be considered somewhat chilly, but such is life. The point is the concept of a zero (or negative) temperature is ridiculous because zero implies, “There is no temperature,” and negative ten (-10) would imply, “There is less than not a temperature.” Only in mathematics can less than none of something exist, and that only for the purpose of conceptual efficiency, nothing else.

As a result, however, we end up with Philosophers who want to take negation and turn it into a (Philosophical) position in an Absolute (not just logical) sense. Instead of logically proving or postulating the existence of something, many Philosophers will waste their time trying to attack things based upon their non-existence.

That’s perfectly fine if that’s what they want to do, but in my opinion, that’s not what is needed to win a Philosophical argument. Consider the formal rules of Criminal Courts, (at least here in the U.S.) if you want to send a guy to prison you have to prove that he committed the crime, well, theoretically. The guy in question does not have to prove that he did not do it, just that he might not have done it. To the same extent, for a Philosopher having a Religious Debate, you really don’t have to argue against the existence of a God(s), but merely tell the person with whom you are Debating, “Prove your case.” If you are the Athiest or Agnostic in this argument, you’re the one on trial, after all, it is you who are going to Hell if you are wrong, according to a Christian just for example. You win the argument just by proving that they can’t prove it, but if you try to overreach and they are able to prove that your argument fails to overcome the possibility of a God, then someone might just side with them if that person believes the Theist made a better argument.

That’s also going to be the case with anything else. Anytime you are in a Philosophical (or any other kind of) Debate/Argument with someone who says, “Something is X,” the best thing to do is just hang back, play defense, and tell them to prove that the thing in question is X. If you become too aggressive about the whole thing, then the argument could very easily get turned around and be about your inability to prove that, “Something is not X,” and without a specific context for such an argument, it is possible that the level of your ability is inadequate. However, proving that they can’t prove x is generally fairly easy, unless x is undeniable.

Is your point about language or about the physical world?


It (Negation) is useful in terms of language efficiency, but useless, in some cases, when dealing with the physical world unless that which is being negated is placed into a specific context. Although, a better case can be made (in strictly physical world terms) for the non-existence of something than for the non-existence of something in any sense.

I guess what I’m mostly getting at is there is no point in shadow-boxing trying to negate entire concepts. You can’t negate an entire concept because if an entire concept was negatable, (?) then there would be no concept to discuss because it could not be referenced. That which does not exist (to the extent that anything could be said not to exist) can not be referenced.

Basically, all you can do with a concept is show that the attempted, “Proof,” is either logical or illogical, but even finding a flaw in the logic used to postulate that the concept is more than a concept does not negate the entire concept, just the logic used to defend it and possibly the concept’s physical existence, if that is what is being argued.

You’re saying that anything referenced must exist. If I introduce the idea that I am a duck, it must be true that I am a duck?

It’s not clear what you are trying to say. How about the concept of a married bachelor? I can simply prove by definition that a married bachelor can never exist. A bachelor is by definition unmarried.

On the contrary, there are no positives! There is no shortage of posters to this forum, and my eyes lack red and green pigment - or rather, the absence of eyes that I don’t have.

The same is true of particular things’ existence.

That’s why scientists use degrees Kelvin. Zero Kelvin means that there is no temperature, no heat energy present to travel from that point.

If I define 5’ as zero, then I’m seventeen inches tall, my wife’s about eight inches and my son is about minus ten inches. That doesn’t imply that 5’ is no distance.

Here’s a problem: if you disallow negative numbers, you have to disallow complex numbers. And complex numbers tell us a lot about what is happening in the real world.

So you believe in an absence of God?

And… shouldn’t this thread have a different title? :stuck_out_tongue:

The concept (idea) of you existing as a duck exists because you just conceived it, but that doesn’t make it true when placed in an actual context such as the physical world. That’s the point I’m making, you can’t disprove the existence of something as a concept because you would have to conceptualize it to do so, so it ends up being self-contradictory to make the attempt.

Consider the concept of God. The entire concept, by design, is such that the concept cannot be proven not to exist in the physical world, so you end up shadow-boxing a concept. I can say that there’s a goat in my living room, but it’s the type of goat that you can’t see, hear, smell, taste or feel, and you will never be able to (in the strictest sense) prove me wrong because the concept is such that it is designed not to be able to be proven wrong.

I’ll go back to the God example for the second statement you made. Basically, what I’m saying is that if someone wants to defend the position that God exists as a concept they should be able to do so with great success, or they are really poor in argument. If they want to stretch that out to say that God exists as more than a concept (i.e. physically) then they will have a much more difficult time of it.

Your concept of a married bachelor and the concept of what we call a, “Contradiction,” are one and the same. Your married bachelor is just an example of a contradiction. Although, I have a Bachelor’s in Economics and I am married…

Anyway, even if the above statements are not satisfactory, then the concept of a married bachelor is not a concept at all. That’s not to say it is a concept that fails to exist, just that it is not a concept. That’s because even a concept can be defined and has conceptual qualities, a married bachelor would have conceptual qualities, but could not be defined.


To your first sentence, DesCartes has already taken care of that.

Your second sentence is not true because I don’t need a specific context to postulate that an elephant exists. Granted, I’m making an assumption based on the presumed continued existence of places where I have found elephants, but unlike the non-existence of something I can readily prove the existence of something, with or without context…if I’m right.

Defining anything as zero implies that there is none of that thing, that’s what the concept of zero is for. Everyone should use degrees Kelvin.

Why are negative numbers necessary to have complex numbers?

I believe that the (Physical/Spiritual) existence of God cannot be proven.

Sorry these responses are so short, I’m at home and my laptop thing jumps around for no reason, so just typing this much is annoying…lol


Sure, concepts themselves can not be proven not to exist. As long a concept is thought, even if it is thought not to hold any truth, it exists (as a concept). Now when has anyone tried to prove that a particular concept itself doesn’t exist?


People have argued against the existence of God, haven’t they? That’s the point, you’re arguing a concept and part of the concept’s design is it cannot be absolutely proven (physically) wrong.


People argue about the existence of god, not about the existence of the concept. If a concept of god is unfalsifiable, then that god cannot be proven false.

If you are debating/talking/thinking about a concept, the concept exists. The concept of god exists. I have never heard anyone try to say otherwise.

I’m saying you are right. But I don’t understand what the big deal is.

I have no idea what “there is no negation” means outside of some context, but the “rule” about double negation is not meaningless. It’s usually invoked to avoid illiterate expressions that fail at their intended meanings, but there are plenty of times when a double negation is the clearest expression available.

Okay, but you obviously know that the difference is purely formal. “Things”, as in things in reality, are never affected by language (in a real way), so no - no thing can be “negated” by language.

I disagree. You can say it. You can say “there are no leprechauns” and it’s a reasonable thing to say. And it’s unlikely that anyone can disprove it, but there is a way to. Which makes it a perfectly good and even “scientific” claim.

That’s because it doesn’t matter which is positive and which is negative. It does if you want a new car, but positive and negative numbers exist in a scale. You can have values that are graphed as negative but are negative only in relation to the graph. There need be nothing else about them that you’d ever express as negative. Negative could just be “to the right of this axis”. Means nothing in the real world. Nothing at all.

I’m sure everyone sees your point, but there are times when it’s most convenient to express values in just this way. If you’ve label your chart a Growth Chart, and you shrink…

Zero does not always imply “nothing”. Again, not always on scales or graphs. Context.


These are not scientific proofs. Criminal cases are approached as evidentiary arguments. Both sides make a positive case. And then someone decides. Only Nietzsche, to my knowledge, makes evidentiary cases in philosophy, which is why so many think he’s a lightweight. I agree, as you know, that arguing about God is useless, bu that is because people do not agree on evidence, usually. Which is why the rules of evidence are present in the court system. But this is not analogous to philosophical arguments, usually.

Philosophical debates do not rely on evidence, really, but on assumptions, because that’s what philosophers do.

I’ve only looked at your post, and this thread, for about 10 seconds, so maybe I’m missing a lot, but… this makes sense to me. I have an “undo” command as part of the software I use every day. I use this command constantly. Do something wrong - “undo”. But when I use that command, I don’t go back in time. I always go forward, relentlessly. Another example: I can apologize for something I did, but that doesn’t undo what I did. It’s another positive action, rather than a negation. Also: A lawyer says something the jury isn’t supposed to hear, and the judge tells the jury to ignore what the lawyer just said. But of course the jury can’t undo what has been done.

Not sure if this meshes with what you’re trying to say or not. Like I said, I only very briefly skimmed the posts here, and I think I might have skipped a lot.

Wouldn’t a square circle be self negating? Lets refer to it as a squircle.

Surely this is an argument for the acceptance of non-existence as a default state, not for its… non-existence.

No it doesn’t. Counting down to zero doesn’t imply that at that point there is absolutely no time, just that a point along a scale has been reached.

Why are negative numbers necessary to have complex numbers?

Because if you have complex numbers, you will end up squaring them.

Surely the physical existence at least could be proven, for various hypotheses of God.

Wittgenstein got rid of the need for the negation sign in the Tractatus.

There was an interesting ‘horizon’ show on TV last week concerning temperature [called; what is one degree?], one which concluded; there is no such thing as hot or cold there are only things moving fast or slow. Super-fluidic hydrogen occurs when all its atoms begin to ‘agree with each other’ ~ there is hardly any movement thus almost absolute zero is obtained. I wonder if prior to the universe there were simply a state of absolute zero. cosmic harmony maaan :slight_smile:

Hot or cold then are subjective terms pertaining only to our experience of heat, as such I think its ok to have the temperature of water freezing as our guide to what zero is. For us it matters when water cannot be drunk due to the cold and the body freezes, it also matter when water boils and the body water evaporates. Being made mostly of water it is probably the most important measure of ‘heat’ as apart from what it means to us heat means nothing at all.

I think there should be another scale relative to movement of particles for non human temperature reading.

Eaxctly, so if you try to prove that God is (definitely) false you will lose. However, if you strive merely to prove that the God is not necessarily true, you will win if you’re any good.

You’re absolutely right about this point, and it was foolish for me to suggest otherwise. I actually posited that negation is useful in that it makes language more, “Efficient,” so why should the same not occasionally be true with double-negation?

Although, if you try to defend quadruple negation, I will argue against you to the death!

The difference is very formal. That’s part of the point I am making that many people get formal argument confused with what it is that they are actually trying to argue for/against sometimes. So, the formal argument should certainly incorporate negations (especially for something that one thinks does not physically exist) but they have to keep in mind that they shouldn’t be arguing for a negation, or negative.

Simply put, they shouldn’t mix up, “You cannot prove that it is,” with, “I can prove that it is not.” If you cross that line, you’ll usually lose.

I agree that you can say, “There is no elephant,” I guess what I mean is that you cannot say it and actually be able to prove yourself right, at least, not without a context. That’s another thing that people sometimes do is to incorporate a context into an argument in the middle of the argument, but I suppose that’s the fault of the other party if they let them get away with that.

When you say that you can disprove the statement, “There are no leprechauns,” do you mean that in a physical context? If so, how?

Exactly! That’s exactly what I mean, it’s useful, efficient and almostnecessary in mathematics, but negation is absolutely meaningless in a real world context. Nothing that physically exists can be negated in the physical context, further, some things that may not (or even probably do not) physically exist can be negated in the physical context without additional contextual specifications.

I agree, mathematical efficiency. Of course, even though the word, “Loss,” is taken to imply a negative it actually denotes a positive physical number. The difference, again, between expenses and revenues (loosely speaking).

I don’t know if everyone sees my point, though, some people sometimes argue as though they don’t see my point.

I’ve known people that will defend the absolute physical non-existence of God as fervently as a Christian would defend the existence of God. You can either logically prove that the other person can not logically prove that God physically exists, or you can counter (and defend) one faith statement with another.

In that event, however, zero would imply, “No change,” or, “Nothing has changed,” it still refers to nothing.

Do you disagree?

That’s a good point, but I think there’s just as much formal logic present in Criminal cases as anything else, especially with respect to causal chains and such. After that, you talk about an individual’s character and character witnesses, so then you get into an argument about morality, “Would someone who lives x way commit y?”

I agree that both sides make a positive case, but I don’t think that the Defending side always has to. I think that in some cases the Defendant’s side could just wait for holes in the prosecution’s logic and attack those sufficiently enough for the Defendant to win. Of course, the prosecution’s case would have to be just as lightweight as many think Nietzsche is.

The disagreement about evidence is evident in the God Debate, but then in Court cases the meaning of evidence is argued. In my personal opinion, the Bible is evidence of God one way or another, self-referential bullshit evidence, don’t get me wrong (Like a guy’s fingerprints in his own bedroom when that is where the murder took place) but still evidence. In both cases it is not about determining what is or is not evidence, in my opinion, but in determining what the evidence means.

In the God case, the evidence means some of the dudes that made the story up (or those who came after) decided to put it into writing, in the criminal case, it means the dude is in his bedroom every now and then.

That’s true, but I think that even an assumption that you and I consider obvious (God doesn’t physically exist) is actually a bit of an overreach.

Exactly, and it doesn’t exactly mesh with what I was trying to say, but it adds to it another element, in my opinion. The element being, that which has existed, cannot be negated in context to the time at which it existed. It actually cannot be negated at all, it can change (take a new position) and that’s about the extent of it.