20.10.2004 kl. 11:55

I've been doing some serious reading on the topic of semantics and the philosophy of language -- in particular the logical positivist criterion of significance, i.e. the verifiability theory of propositional meaning. When reading a certain article, I came across the following piece of metaphysical nonsense. It's a quote from an English translation of a work of Heidegger's, and it's a typical example of a certain kind of nonsense that some philosophers seem to get away with and still be taken seriously:

Why are we concerned about this nothing? The nothing is rejected by science and sacrificed as the unreal. Science wants to have nothing to do with the nothing. What is the nothing? Does the nothing exist only because the not, i.e, negation, exists? Or do negation and the not exist only because the nothing exists? We maintain: The nothing is more primitive than the not and negation. We know the nothing. The nothing is the simple negation of the totality of being. Anxiety reveals the nothing. The nothing itself nots.

Now, that truly is an amazing text. I don't think I have ever read anything equally nonsensical. The nothing itself nots? What kind of twisted treatment of language is this? What exactly does the verb 'to not' entail? This sort of stuff is bullshit of the highest order, and the positivists were right about wanting to permanently expel it from philosophical debate.