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Can we prove a negative?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Ryan2065, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. Ryan2065

    Ryan2065 Well-Known Member

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    Is it really possible to prove a negative?

    In example, can you ever really prove that something does not exist?

    I came across this and find it quite funny....

    http://www.infidelguy.com/pedent/onprovinganegative.html
    So what do you guys think, is it impossible to prove a negative?
     
  2. emetib47

    emetib47 New Member

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    no because couldn't you have missed it or something. you can't really prove anything it's just assumed. it's assumed that passanger pigions are extinct but are they couldn't there still be one or two out there it's just assumed that there aren't. it's like numbers we assume that one equals one when in all reality it could equal five hundred. you can't really prove that something doesn't exist. its just assumed.
     
  3. Ryan2065

    Ryan2065 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you can prove things. For instance to prove that something exists, all you have to do is find one, and there, your proof is done!
     
  4. emetib47

    emetib47 New Member

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    okay that's a good point. but are most people going to comb the world to find something that they were taught was only in fairytales like oh i don't know unicorns or something like that... i would but then again that's me because you are right you find one and there's your proff.
     
  5. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    Its not possible to prove a negative.
     
  6. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    No....
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    The issue is frequently, perhaps even commonly, confused.

    Of course I can prove a positive.
    I own a copper 2005 Murano.​
    Of course I can prove a negative.
    There is no rhino in the back seat.​
    So, what's the problem?

    The issue was popularized (if that's the appropriate word) by Kark Popper, who was speaking of universal existential statements. He noted that one coud never prove such universals, whether they be formulated positively ...
    All Ravens Are Black​
    or negatively ...
    There Exists No White Raven​
    What was possible, however, was falsification.
     
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