Lakoff, p. 148

“Let us consider a simple example of a presupposition.

(a) I regret that Harry left.

(b) I don’t regret that Harry left.

(c) Harry left.

Normally, the speaker who says (a) or its negation, (b), is taking (c) for

granted. In the 1960s there were two alternatives available for trying to

account for this phenomenon.

LOGICAL PRESUPPOSITION: Both (a) and its negation, (b), logically entail (c).

Logical entailment is defined in terms of truth in the world. Thus, when-

ever (a) or (b) is true in the world, (c) must be true in the world. This

leads to problems for sentences like

(d) I don’t regret that Harry left-in fact, he didn’t leave at all.

If the theory of logical presupposition were correct, then (d) should be a

logical contradiction, since the first half entails the truth of (c) and the sec-

ond half denies (c). But since (d) is not a logical contradiction, the theory

of logical presupposition cannot hold for such cases.”

Not so fast. It depends upon how to interpret (b) since sentences like (b) ar ambiguos in english. This is so becus they use a frase similar to “I don’t [verb]”. If we are to be mor cleer, then here ar the two interpretations of (b):

(b’). There is a person, x, and there is a person, y, such that x = me and y = Harry, and y left, and it is not the case that x regrets that y left.


(b”). It is not the case that, there is a person, x, and there is a person, y, such that x = me and y = Harry, and y left, and x regret that y left.


Thees two ar not equivalnt. (b’) does indeed imply (c) but (b”) does not imply (c).

Using interpretation (b”), (d) does not seem to be a contradiction, but using (b’), it is a contradiction

becus it implys both (c) and ~(c).

[Disclaimer: this article is written in reformed english.]

Many peeple hav sayd to me that they hav tryed reeding ebooks but that it is too uncomfortable for them. I will discuss my thots about this situation below.

Using desktops

Sitting in front of the computer

One typically sits at a desktop computer with a chair, and it can get uncomfortable sitting a long time in a chair. This depends on the chair, of cors, and depending on wher the computer one is reeding on is, one may or may not be able to change the chair to a mor comfortable chair or perhaps som other kind of furnitur.

Many peeple like to reed in their bed befor going to sleep or just in general. It is hard to use a desktop for this activity.


If one also uses the desktop computer for many other things, one might want to not close down all the applications wile one is reeding. This increeses the chance that one will be distracted wile reeding wich reduces efficiency. Ther ar a couple of ways to deel with this: 1) Close down the applications anyway. One may need to close down a lot of applications, and re-open after one is don reeding. I dislike this method but it may be feesible for som. 2) Switch to another desktop. Som operating systems com with an innate ability to hav multiple ‘virtual’ desktops. To avoid having to close down a large number of applications, one can switch to an emty desktop. 3) Many programs to view PDF files (or similar ebook formats) hav the ability to go into full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, one cannot see other applications, wich reduces the chance that they will distract one. Exeptions ar applications that somhow override this full-screen state (e.g. pop-up windows) or applications that play sounds wen events happen. To counter this last element, one can turn off the sound. Depending on how one does this, one might not be able to enjoy music wile reeding. This will therfor present a problem for som peeple.

A general advice about computers, and to a lesser degree tablets, is that it is wise to log off varius instant messenger services to avoid becoming distracted wile reeding. This is a very important advice. Do not underestimate how eesily one is distracted by such programs. Humans ar very social animals.

Screen size

Obviously the screen size of desktop computers make them good for viewing PDFs, even those with small text.

Looking things up

Wen using a computer or tablet and one has internet access, one has the ability to look things on the internet e.g. a dictionary. One may even download a dictionary and use it without internet access. Som ebook reeders, however, com with in-bilt dictionarys and som of them hav browsers as well, altho they tend to be of poor quality, and the slowly updating screen makes it hard to browse the internet.



In contrast to the desktop computer, laptops (including notebooks, netbooks, gaming laptops, and tablets) can generally be used everywher (exeptions ar e.g. airplanes). Depending on the specific laptop, it may be comfortable to reed wile laying in the bed. Smaller laptops ar eesyer to handle and offer greater mobility and also ofen better battery times (see below), but they tend to hav a smaller screen size too.

Despite their increesed mobility in relation to desktops, laptops, however, all need power once in a wile. How ofen will depend on the laptop. If one spends a lot of time in areas wher ther is no power available for recharging (say, a lawn or a forest, or public transportation), this may be a problem.

Screen size

Depending on one’s eyes, one may want to get a small laptop, e.g. a netbook (7-10” screen) or a large one (>15”). The small ones typically hav great battery time. Depending on the source material, one might not want to get a such small screen as it is hard to make the text of scanned PDFs large enof to comfortably reed it without having to scroll horizontally. I use a 13” laptop and my experience is that this is close to the perfect size for a person with normal vision.


If one does not normally work on the laptop, it may be eesyer to avoid the distractions ofen associated with a desktop computer. The advice given in relation to desktops apply here as well.

Ebooks reeders

The screen

Ebook reeders ar electronic devices designed specifically to be nice to reed on. They ofen use a different kind of display technology called E-ink. Looking at E-ink is a lot looking at regular paper and requires background light. This may be a problem in som contexts, for instance, if one is reeding in a tent at night without a flashlight.

The size of ebook reeders, however, is ofen like that of netbooks. They typically if not always hav options to enlarge the text to make it nicer to the eye. This, however, does not work for scanned PDFs, and the screen size is typically if not always1 too small for one to be able to reed scanned PDFs without too much eye strain. For ebooks in non-scanned formats, the ebook reeders typically hav a function called ”reflow”. It lets the device moov text around so that one avoids having to scroll horizontally. This does not work for scanned PDFs.

Becus the manufacturers of ebook reeders ar ofen the same peeple who sell ebooks for serius amounts of money (somtimes they ar even mor expensiv than paper books; this is absurd given that ther is virtually no production cost beyond the first copy), it is not likely that they will produce ebook reeders with large enof screens so that one can reed scanned PDFs. That wud ‘undermine’ their own incom channel from ebooks in non-scanned formats.

Battery time

Ebook reeders typically hav a great battery time becus they use the E-ink display technology.

References / reeding material A previus article of mine discussing the pros and cons with ebooks and paper books. Danish.


1AFAICT from varius testimonys from peeple having tryed using the largest ~10” ebook reeders, they ar not sufficiently large for this to be nice to do.

First reed the original article in Nature. (Alternativ download)

It is a sensible article but consider:

“In the meantime, ethnicity or race may in some cases provide useful information in biomedical contexts, just as other categories, such as gender or age, do. But the potential usefulness of race must be balanced against potential hazards. Ignorance of the shared nature of population variation can lead to diagnostic errors (e.g., the failure to diagnose sickle-cell disease in a European individual or cystic fibrosis in an Asian individual) or to inappropriate treatment or drug prescription. The general public, including policy-makers, are easily seduced by typological thinking, and so they must be made aware of the genetic data that help to prove it wrong.“

They point out that if one thinks that sickle-cell disees only affects africans, this might caus one to fail to recognize the disees in a non-african (say, a european). That may be so, but noledg about the frequency of that disees will also help to correctly diagnose peeple wen used correctly. Universal claims like “Sickle cell anemia only affects africans.” ar dangerous wen incorrect, but statistical information like “The base rate of sickle cell anemia in europeans is N.” can be very useful in diagnostication. The reeson for that is that humans (including medical doctors) tend to make base rate fallacys1, but noing the base rate of somthing helps one make a correct judgment using Bayes’ theorem.


1See David M. Buss (ed.) – The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, chapter 27.

Given the Wikipedia page, my expectations wer pretty low. That turned out to be unnecessary. The book is pretty cleerly ritten and contains a host of useful information about genetics, varius genetic diseeses, varius things that IQ correlates both positivly and negativly with. Overall it is a pretty sensible book. It made me want to reed the book that came befor it: Dysgenics. Eugenics can be downloaded here, free of charge.

Extreemly long book, beware. It took my multiple months to reed. That is by far the longest it has ever taken me to reed a book. But it was worth it. U shud reed this book if u hav alredy red things like The Red Queen, Evolutionary Psychology: the new science of mind becus those books give a better introduction to the fild. But if u still havent gotten enof, then this book is for u.

David M. Buss – Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology <- PDF

Recently, i hav been reeding som books on alternativ medicin (the other being Trick or treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial) and sience in general. This is one of them. It is eesy to reed, and funny at times. I recommend it to peeple that want to no the eevils of alternativ medicin and mainstreem medicin as well, as they ar certainly not innocent eether. It is very bashing towards journalists, but IMO they deserv it so i am happy that somone spent the time exposing their eevils. I hate journalists with a passion but as the author also remarks, they ar going away (perhaps not compleetly tho), and bloggers ar taking over. It is interesting to note, as the author also notes, that even tho they ar fighting for their life, they ar still terrible at their job; they misreport sience a great deel, they rely way too much on authority figurs (typically, one is chosen from eether side of som debate and they hav a couple of quotes from both ‘experts’), and ofen their articles ar just parafrases of the latest reuters news with no additional content or anything. Disgusting. If i wanted to reed reuters news, i cud just go to their website. Heck, i cud use google translate to get it in danish too if i so wanted. Amazingly, i hav managed on multiple occasions to find factual errors wen the journalists wher just refrasing reuters. How that happened is a mystery.

If u think this book may be for u, or just that the subject is interesting, the author recently went to TED to give a talk and it is available below.

For those that want to reed it, i hav uploaded it for u. U can also find it on

Ben Goldacre – Bad Science <- PDF, but not particularly pretty

The author also has a website here. I added his blog to my RSS reeder. :)

ETA: Funyly enof, i got a DMCA take-down notis about this book. Oh noes, kopyryt shit. I deleeted the PDF file and put a link to a plase wher one kan download it but isn’t my site.

ETA2: Another kopyryt klaim. I remooved the epub as wel. I left the link to the book. So this wil hav prety much no efekt as the book is stil redyly available –  for free, as it shud be. It is unfortunate that the author is not very nolejable about how kopyryt works and wants to pul his book from the net. Tsk tsk!