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[1008a] [1] Therefore if the latter negation is true, the negation of "trireme" will also be true; and if this is true, the affirmation will be true too.

And not only does this follow for those who hold this theory, but also that it is not necessary either to affirm or to deny a statement.For if it is true that X is both man and not-man, clearly he will be neither man nor not-man; for to the two statements there correspond two negations, and if the former is taken as a single statement compounded out of two, the latter is also a single statement and opposite to it.

Again, either this applies to all terms, and the same thing is both white and not-white, and existent and non-existent, and similarly with all other assertions and negations; or it does not apply to all, but only to some and not to others.And if it does not apply to all, the exceptions will be admitted1; but if it does apply to all, again either (a) the negation will be true wherever the affirmation is true, and the affirmation will be true wherever the negation is true, or (d) the negation will be true wherever the assertion is true, but the assertion will not always be true where the negation is true. And in the latter case there will be something which definitely is not, and this will be a certain belief; and if that it is not is certain and knowable, the opposite assertion will be still more knowable. But if what is denied can be equally truly asserted, it must be either true or false to state the predicates separately and say, e.g., [20] that a thing is white, and again that it is not-white.And if it is not-true to state them separately, our opponent does not say what he professes to say, and nothing exists; and how can that which does not exist speak or walk?2 And again all things will be one, as we said before,3 and the same thing will be "man" and "God" and "trireme" and the negations of these terms.For if it is equally possible to assert or deny anything of anything, one thing will not differ from another; for if anything does differ, it will be true and unique. And similarly even if it is possible to make a true statement while separating the predicates, what we have stated follows. Moreover it follows that all statements would be true and all false; and that our opponent himself admits that what he says is false. Besides, it is obvious that discussion with him is pointless, because he makes no real statement.For he says neither "yes" nor "no," but "yes and no"; and again he denies both of these and says "neither yes nor no"; otherwise there would be already some definite statement.

Again, if when the assertion is true the negation is false, and when the latter is true the affirmation is false, it will be impossible to assert and deny with truth the same thing at the same time.

1 i.e., it will be admitted that in certain cases where an attribute is true of a subject, the negation is not true; and therefore some propositions are indisputable.

2 If our opponent holds that you can only say "A is B and not B," (1) he contradicts every statement that he makes; (2) he must say that what exists does not exist. Therefore nothing exists, and so he himself does not exist; but how can he speak or walk if he does not exist?

3 Aristot. Met. 4.4.27.

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