A Blog for Everyone and No One
This blog has become a little frightening. All its members are scared to contribute and no one dares make a comment. For this reason I’m attempting to ease the situation with some inconsequential musings on negation. More short posts like this to come I imagine.
Just a little background, these ideas appeared while I was reading Agamben’s book on Hegel and Heidegger . Most of it is fairly obvious stuff. I would highly recommend the book if you haven’t read it yet. Very inspiring. I might write a bit more on it in the future. Anyway read on..
Negation is found in the ‘not’ of judgements for example. Here we can refer to Kant and the table of judgements where the negative and the infinite present two possible forms of a logical proposition. In the critique of pure reason there is a difference between simple negation and the negation of an infinite judgement. It is the difference between judging something as not a book and the value judgment of it as a non-book. The latter points to the many affirmations possible within a single proposition based on many ways of interpreting the value of a book.
For Hegel negation is always the negation of something specific. Contrary to Kant negation is not a category — it is not a universal. It is something that occurs in the pointing out of a particular. Giorgio Agamben in Language and Death explains such negation. He claims it is inherent in the use of pronouns such as ‘here’ and ‘there’ — words that exemplify.
To explain, Agamben examines Hegel’s ‘here’ at the beginning of the phenomenology, in sense certainty, and Heidegger’s ‘there’, the da of Dasein. The ‘here is day’ in the phenomenology is only negated once it is indicated. This means there is a gap between the silence and the uttering of the ‘here’. Dasein however is always already there, no indication is necessary for the negation in language to take place. Dasein is embedded in negation. In fact Dasein speaks in order to ward off the silence. The senseless chatter is a way to avoid negation. This brings us to nothingness, the negation of ontology and metaphysics.