Re: virus: The One or the Many? (was: META)

Brett Lane Robertson (
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 17:57:17 -0500

At 05:05 PM 10/31/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>The assumption was that "doubt" has negative connotations--is a "negative"
>>word like "no" and "not" and "can't" and "shouldn't". The further
>>assumption was that such words as "hate" and "anger" and "opposition" arise
>>from negation--as opposed to affirmation (and it would seem that if one
>>affirms something it would incur acceptance, and enthusiasm, and
>>cooperation...rather than hate and anger and opposition).
>And, although I am sorry to sort you out, these are not assumptions I
>make (or any skeptic makes...) about 'doubt'. So- without any validity to
>your first statement, the syllogism of your second loses all fecundity.
>I remain without satisfaction without evidence. That is my doubt. It is
>an affirmation of things, not a negation. It is a doubt of disinterest,
>not of denial.
>To a life without memes!
> Wade T. Smith

Though WW Webster seems to include definitions which put "doubt" in the
category of an objective "something" which one possesses and by which one
might choose not to affirm (in a positive sense), Roget's Thesaurus includes
doubt in the category of negation of ideas:

II. MODES OF COMMUNICATION Negation. -- N. negation, abnegation; denial;
disavowal, disclaimer; abjuration; contradiction, contravention; recusation,
protest; recusancy &c. (dissent) [more]; flat contradiction, emphatic
contradiction, emphatic denial, dementi. qualification &c. [more];
repudiation &c. [more]; retraction &c. [more]; confutation &c. [more];
refusal &c. [more]; prohibition &c. [more]. V. deny; contradict, contravene;
controvert, give denial to, gainsay, negative, shake the head. disown,
disaffirm, disclaim, disavow; recant &c. [more]; revoke &c. (abrogate)
[more]. dispute; impugn, traverse, rebut, join issue upon; bring in
question, call in question &c. (DOUBT) [more]; give (one) the lie in his
throat. deny flatly, deny peremptorily, deny emphatically, deny absolutely,
deny wholly, deny entirely; give the lie to, belie. repudiate &c. [more];
set aside, ignore &c. [more]; rebut &c. (confute) [more]; qualify &c.
[more]; refuse &c. [more]. Adj. denying &c.v.; denied &c.v.; contradictory;
negative, negatory; recusant &c. (dissenting) [more]; at issue upon. Adv.
no, nay, not, nowise; not a bit, not a whit, not a jot; not at all, not in
the least, not so; no such thing; nothing of the kind, nothing of the sort;
quite the contrary, tout au contraire, far from it; tant s'en faut; on no
account, in no respect; by no, by no manner of means; negatively. (Emphasis

Pending a metaphysic of "doubt" (which would place it as a Platonic form or
a negation of reality), I could accept your definition...but think that
"doubt" must originate--spiritually--from opposition to truth and not as a
necessary component of it.


Rabble Sonnet Retort
The average woman would rather have beauty than brains,
because the average man can see better than he can think.