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Does an absence of a negative indicate a positive?

  1. Mar 4, 2010 #1
    One time me and a friend were having a debate over skill on certain activities. I said to him, "I'm not bad at basketball, but I'm not good at it either." He began to explain to me that the statement was illogical and that I "either had to be good or bad" Do you think its correct to assume that if someone isn't good at something, that it automatically means they are bad at it, and vice versa? I made the point that in mathematics there is a neutrality in values. The number one is positive. The number negative one is negative. The number zero is neutral between the two. I'm not sure if you could apply this point to skill in activities though. This also goes along with the assumption that just because someone isn't strong it automatically means they are weak. What are your thoughts and opinions for this? If you have any, try to make some intelligent points defending your opinion. I'm interested in some of you all's viewpoints.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2010 #2


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    In general, yes, but good is not the complement of bad - only its opposite.

    It's like saying "either your with us, or you're aginst us".
  4. Mar 4, 2010 #3


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    Just measure skill along a spectrum from 0 (no skill) to 10 (complete skill).
  5. Mar 5, 2010 #4
    Good and bad are value judgements, so how we use them is definitional.
    Claiming some absolute standard is what is illogical, unless you can produce that standard and justify it.
    As such its merely a linguistic problem.
    You and your friend are using the words differently.
  6. Mar 7, 2010 #5


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    "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
  7. Mar 7, 2010 #6


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    Which is completely irrelevant in this particular case :smile:
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