Topoi 29 (2):153-163 (2010)
|Abstract||Philosophical semantics requires an ontology that includes negative as well as positive states of affairs as truth-makers and truth-breakers. Theories that try to do without negative states of affairs while interpreting propositional truth as positive correspondence with existent states of affairs are inherently inadequate and incomplete. A semantics and ontology of negative states of affairs can also do justice to positive states of affairs, since the iterated negative state of affairs that a negative state of affairs exists describes a positive state of affairs, but the iterated positive state of affairs that a positive state of affairs exists never describes a negative state of affairs. Negative states of affairs are not only essential to semantics, but to a complete description of the world; they include phenomena of presence in absence and the metaphysics of gaps, lacks, holes and interstitia. The conceivability of an empty or null universe as consisting of nothing but negative states of affairs recalls a famous problem of Parmenides.|
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