Showing, Not Saying, Negation and Falsehood: Establishing Kimhi’s Two-Way Logical Capacities with Wittgenstein’s Samples


  • Thomas Henry Raysmith Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



Negation, Falsehood, Facts, Samples, Logical Capacities, Irad Kimhi, Wittgenstein


Irad Kimhi has argued that negation and falsehood can be made intelligible by understanding assertions/judgements as acts of two-way logical capacities. These are capacities that are, at the same time, for (1) positive and negative assertions/judgements and (2) positive and negative facts. Kimhi’s account of negation and falsehood, however, faces several problems. As Jean-Philippe Narboux has shown, it is threatened with incompleteness or inconsistency in its employment of negative ostensible assertions that are not acts of two-way logical capacities, and, as I demonstrate in this article, it does not explain the assumed logical connections between two-way logical capacities or the acknowledged differences between acts of two-way logical capacities in the world and in assertion/judgement. I argue that these problems can be avoided and that a new understanding of the negation and falsehood of predicative assertion/judgement can be achieved by, first, regarding two-way logical capacities for predicative assertion/judgement and facts as established by our treating things as what Ludwig Wittgenstein calls “samples”, and, second, drawing a distinction between predicative assertions/judgements and normative assertions/judgements that, e.g., introduce samples into our language-games and show the rules for using samples for the purpose of representation.

Author Biography

Thomas Henry Raysmith, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Thomas Raysmith completed his Ph.D. at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2022. He primarily works on the history of philosophy, with a focus on Immanuel Kant’s Critical philosophy and German Idealism and Romanticism. Yet, he also has research interests in Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and historical conceptions of analysis.


Aristotle, 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle. J. Barnes, ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (References given in the form: Name of Work: Ch.)

Beaney, M., 2008. “Wittgenstein on Language: From Simples to Samples”. In: E. Lepore and B. Smith, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 40-59. DOI:

Curd, P., ed., (2001). A Presocratic Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia, second edition. R. McKirahan and Curd, trans. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Della Rocca, M., 2021. “Parmenides’s Insight and the Possibility of Logic”. European Journal of Philosophy, 1–13. DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12703 DOI:

Frege, G., 1953. The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number. J. L. Austin, trans. Oxford: Blackwell.

Geach, P., 1972. Logic Matters. London: Basil Blackwell.

Geach, P., 1979. “Kinds of Statements”. In: C. Diamond and J. Teichman, eds., Intention and Intentionality: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Anscombe. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 221–235.

Haddock, A., 2020. “Thinking and Being: Review”. Mind 129, 974–983. DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzz049 DOI:

Horn, L., 1989. A Natural History of Negation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Reissued, Stanford: CSLI Publications, 2001.)

Kimhi, I. 2018. Thinking and Being. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. DOI:

Narboux, J.-P., 2021. “Thinking and Being: Review”. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, (Accessed: 27 March 2022).

Silva, M., ed., 2017. Colours in the Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Speranza, J. and Horn, L., 2012. “A Brief History of Negation”. In: D. Gabbay, F. Pelletier, J. Woods, Logic: A history of its central concepts, Vol. 11 (Handbook of the History of Logic). Amsterdam: Elsevier, 127–174. DOI:

Wittgenstein, L., 1958. The Blue and Brown Books. Oxford: Blackwell. (BBB)

Wittgenstein, L., 1974. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. D. Pears and B. McGuiness, trans. London: Routledge. (TLP)

Wittgenstein, L., 1977. Remarks on Colour. G. E. M. Anscombe (ed.) Linda L. McAlister and Margarete Schättle (trans.). Berkeley: University of California Press. (ROC)

Wittgenstein, L., 1979. Notebooks 1914–1916. G. E. M. Anscombe, trans. Oxford: Blackwell. (NB)

Wittgenstein, L., 2001. Philosophical Investigations. G. E. M. Anscombe, trans. Malden: Blackwell. (PI)