Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 16:33:45 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: Fw: HUMOR: Thought for Wednesday, Nov 15, 1995 (fwd) Here we go again. Some of you will remember this exchange from not that long ago: [ADS posting, 11 Oct. 1994] Relevant true story: At a major international conference, a pompous speaker droned on and on to a packed crowd. After what seemed an eternity, he finally built to his point, declaring: "In English, for example, there is not a single example of a double positive which means its negative." At this point, the noted Princeton philosopher, Saul Kripke, rose from his seat near the back of the audience and shouted; "SURE, SURE!" The speaker has not been seen much since. -- Jim Beniger University of Southern California ============================ prompting this response: I don't know if the story is apocryphal, but I've always heard it cited (including every time I have talked about "logical" double negation before an audience containing philosophers) along the following lines: [Speaker] "...and while two negations often cancel out to an affirmative, there is no known attestation of two affirmatives reducing to a negative." [Sidney Morgenbesser, in a loud sotto voce] "Yeah, yeah." I've come across the same anecdote a few times in print since including it in my 1989 book "A Natural History of Negation" (p. 554) and in my 1991 CLS paper "Duplex Negatio Affirmat...: The Economy of Double Negation" (plug, plug) and each time the attribution was to Morgenbesser. From what I've heard of Morgenbesser, master of the rapier-like counterexample through many decades at Columbia, and what I know of Kripke, the standard version of the anecdote appears more likely. But vas I dere, Charley? No. Larry Horn ========================= Since then, it's made the e-rounds a couple of times and appeared, in two different version, in the Times "On Language" column, once introduced by Safire and once by someone else. Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe, move over! --Larry (today)