A Question of Binaries

Oppositions: natural, or a product of language?

Barry C Smith is a Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Institute of Advanced Studies at University of London. His interests range from the philosophy of wine to Chomskyan theory of mind and language.

He co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language (2006) with Ernest Lepore. Following his 2007 collection, Questions of Taste - the philosophy of wine (Oxford University Press), he began working with psychologists, neurologists and neuroscientists on flavour perception and is now the co-organiser of an international research project on the Nature of Taste.



So the topic up for discussion is binaries in nature and whether or not they’re real or fictitious and created by us. But I suppose the first question is what do we mean when we talk about binaries, opposites? And is there any sense in which binaries are distinct from “x and not x”?

Well, I think we all know what we mean by binaries. I

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