Spinoza, Hegel, Affirmation, and Negation

Spinoza pointed out that all affirmation involves negation (to claim a thing “is” something, is to simultaneously claim that it “is not” many other things). Hegel added the converse; all negation involves affirmation (to claim a thing “is not” something is to claim it is the inverse of that negation).

To this, I add: Spinoza’s assertion and Hegel’s assertion together suggest a new level of interdependence.  Determining or defining anything involves negations and affirmations that are interdependent with one another.   What I am and what I am not are interdependent.  What each thing is and is not are interdependent.  All knowledge claims involve interdependent affirmations and negations.

In Hegel, this interdependence is expressed in another interesting way: through the dialectical process. Ultimately, positions are articulated through/in response to contrary positions. Dialogue and progress in philosophy proceed through this negotiating of interdependent affirmations and negations.
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