“When we say not-being, we speak, I think, not of something that is the opposite of being, but only of something different.” (Plato, Sophist 257B)
How can we speak of non-being if to speak at all implies saying “some thing”? Would we not thereby impart being to the object of our utterance and thus contradict the very claim of our assertion? This linguistic and ontological difficulty raises the broader question of the nature of negation as a rhetorical, logical and political act. Negation cannot simply be opposed to or absolutely independent from affirmation but must instead be intertwined with positivity, since negation always involves a thing which is negated. But this can be called into question by asking whether every affirmation might only be achieved by negating other properties. Rather than starting from the premise that affirmation and negation are mutually exclusive, we wish to explore the possibility of a more intricate relationship between them. How might affirmation be expressed through negation and vice versa? This conference will focus on concepts of complex affirmations and negations in domains including rhetoric, logic, ontology, and politics.
Further information can be found at http://negation.ici-berlin.org
Beau Madison Mount
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