Topic: Ontology&possible worlds
WHAT IS WRONG WITH NEGATIVE PROPERTIES
By Richard Vallée
Negative properties, like not flying, are controversial. I introduce negative properties, and offer semantic arguments against the inclusion of such properties in ontology. I distinguish predicate negation and sentential negation, and examine the syntactic and semantic behaviour of predicate negation. I contend that predicate negation is identical with sentential negation. If it is not, then we lose a lot of intuitive inferences found in natural languages and make no clear metaphysical gain. Other arguments based on Ockham's razor are offered. Finally, I address the problem raised by words like ‘immortal'. These words apparently express negative properties. My views have interesting consequences on the ontological scope of these words.
Key-words: Metaphysics. Properties. Negation. Semantics. Logic.
Published in Manuscrito Volume 27, #2, 2004