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The Genealogy of Disjunction$
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R. E. Jennings

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195075243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195075243.001.0001

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The Second Myth of ‘Or’

The Second Myth of ‘Or’

Chapter:
(p.239) Chapter 9 The Second Myth of ‘Or’
Source:
The Genealogy of Disjunction
Author(s):

R. E. Jennings

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195075243.003.0009

This chapter describes the second myth. The second myth can be described as cheerful handmaiden to the first, and, perhaps because of its classical hearkening, has an undeniable charm. Some languages, though English is not one of them, have two different words for two different senses of “or.” The second myth—Latin not only possessed truth-functional vocabulary but also possessed a clearer meaning. The ultimate source of the myth remains a mystery. As with the English ‘or’ the puzzle is not to understand how the conjunctive uses of aut are to be explained in the face of its disjunctive meaning, but how its disjunctive use arises out of a more primitive meaning that is adverbially conjunctive and more or less adversative. Latin, awaits its dissolution, and as we shall see, provides a useful clue.

Keywords:   aut, Latin, heredipety, second myth, Greek, alternation, wedge, autem, Etymology, De Morgan's law

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