Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 09:01:35 EDT
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Name that syntagm
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
[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 was I dere, Charley? No.