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The Geometry of Negation

Varzi, Achille C.; Warglien, Massimo

There are two natural ways of thinking about negation: (i) as a form of complementation and (ii) as an operation of reversal, or inversion (to deny that p is to say that things are “the other way around”). A variety of techniques exist to model conception (i), from Euler and Venn diagrams to Boolean algebras. Conception (ii), by contrast, has not been given comparable attention. In this note we outline a twofold geometric proposal, where the inversion metaphor is understood as involving a rotation or a reflection, respectively. These two options are equivalent in classical two-valued logic but they differ significantly in many-valued logics. Here we show that they correspond to two basic sorts of negation operators— Post's and Kleene's—and we provide a simple group-theoretic argument demonstrating their generative power.

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Title
Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics
DOI
https://doi.org/10.3166/jancl.13.9-19

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Academic Units
Philosophy
Published Here
November 25, 2014