Negative States of Affairs

Symposium 16 (2):106-127 (2012)


In Reinach’s works one finds a very rich ontology of states of affairs. Some of them are positive, some negative. Some of them obtain, some do not. But even the negative and non-obtaining states of affairs are absolutely independent of any mental activity. Despite this claim of the “ontological equality” of positive and negative states of affairs, there are, according to Reinach, massive epistemological differences in our cognitive access to them. Positive states of affairs can be directly “extracted” from our experience, while to acquire a negative belief we must pass through a quite complicated process, starting with certain positive beliefs. A possible and reasonable explanation of this discrepancy would be a theory to the effect that these epistemological differences have their basis in the ontology of the entities in question. Our knowledge of the negative states of affairs is essentially dependent on our knowledge of the positive ones precisely becausethe negative states of affairs are ontologically dependent on the positive ones. Such a theory has, in fact, been formulated by Roman Ingarden. According to him, negative states of affairs supervene on some positive ones and on certain mental acts of the conscious subjects.

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Arkadiusz Chrudzimski
Université de Fribourg

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Negating as Turning Upside Down.Bartłomiej Skowron & Wiesław Kubiś - 2018 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 54 (1):115-129.

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