Hehe It's quite useful to know our language well, isn't it?

The word nothing actually stand in place as a shortcut for a few  
different meanings:

not anything (no things at all), not something (no particular thing  
out of a set of things).

Also, we have this tendency in english to take the (what would be  
succinct in meaning) negative out of the verb and either build it  
into a noun or precede a noun with not someplace in our sentences. It  
feels more human, natural and "flowing". The trouble with that is  
that we potentially lose our meaning to vagueness. But ironically  
enough, succinct meaning is usually pitted against "the flow of  
things" or rather - it's one extreme side of the intersection between  
flow and precision where usually people who insist on precision of  
meaning lose the flow of things (as I have potentially just done  
myself) ;-)

When reasoning, it's very important to be aware of your nouns, and to  
expand your terms (ie meanings) ;-) However ironically the more  
expanded your description / meanings / terms / words become, the less  
people your audience includes - it excludes them through  
complicatedness ;-).

"Not anything (the negative of all things) is better than eternal  
happiness.
     A ham sandwich is better than not something (no particular thing)
         Therefore, there is no therefore .... ? :-)"

Julian.

On 17/08/2005, at 1:21 PM, daz wrote:

>
> David A. Black wrote:
>
>  "Nothing is better than eternal happiness.
>    A ham sandwich is better than nothing.
>     Therefore, a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness."
>
>  - R. S. Nickerson.
>    (Reflections on reasoning. Erlbaum, Hillsdale NJ, 1986.)
>
>
>
>
>