Consider, please, the following sentence:

At the period to which Dreams belongs Kant had no contentful answer to this question, and indeed he did not do so until his Critical period.

I wonder if it should be "he did do so" or simply "he did so" instead?


he had no answer and

he did not do so no -- do does not parallel had

he did not have one until yes

The author of the passage is thinking of the action to answer, but in the previous clause answer is a noun, direct object of had. The parallelism should occur at the linguistic, not merely at the semantic, level.

He had no tea and he would not do so until he went to the store. no

He had no tea and he would not have any until he went to the store. yes

He could make no tea because he had none, and he could not do so until he went to the store and bought some.yes

  • +1 The OP seems to have correct quoted Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason, but I absolutely agree that the author made a grammatical error. – joiedevivre Feb 20 '18 at 21:31
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    Three Stooges summary of the issue: Moe: What did Kant say when asked why he hadn't answered the question? Larry: ... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 20 '18 at 21:53

The author of the sentence is discussing the development or the differences of Kant's philosophy over time, and in this case they are emphasizing the fact that an important component of Kant's mature philosophy was missing at the time of his essay Dreams of a Spirit Seeker. Because the emphasis is on the lack of this component, the construction is correct. To get this same emphasis (of a lack) without the negation the sentence would have to say something like "he did so only after his Critical period". However this formulation while logically similar does not emphasize the failure to do so or the shortcomings of not doing so, in the time period mentioned.

  • Frankly, I don't see why you take there to be any special emphasis (just because of indeed?). In my opinion, that's an assertion of a simple change of the state over a period of time—at first he didn't have it, then, later, he did so. For example: I had no pocket money when I was a child and did so until I was well past 17. Moreover, your parsing is not correct: until his Critical period (within it) =\= only after his Critical period (after it). – Mv Log Feb 20 '18 at 19:31
  • I do not know what you mean by "special emphasis" as opposed to just "emphasis", but I think the author is clearly emphasizing the lack here precisely because they say "and he did not do so until...". Having said that however, I must say that this strikes me as a British/ American distinction. Of course the antecedent of "so" can be interpreted as you suggest; but in American usage not only would the construction "and he did (do) so" be considered stilted or old fashioned, but it would sound particularly egregious to express the continuation of being in a state of lack by actively doing it. – Frank G Feb 20 '18 at 21:42
  • I actually think you are getting at the real answer to the OP's question (the meaning of "did not do so until"), but I just can't upvote anything that says this is "correct" because of the glaring error mentioned in Tᴚoɯɐuo's answer. – joiedevivre Feb 21 '18 at 0:35
  • Regarding my parsing error; I did not mean to imply that my reformulation was equivalent to the original sentence, only that something was needed to maintain the polarity. In my example I offered a template ('something like') which showed how this could be achieved by pinning down the time frame. The actual formulation of course would involve a deeper understanding of Kant's philosophy, his biography, his bibliography and the author of the sentence's intentions, than one could guess at from the example sentence. – Frank G Mar 21 '18 at 19:15

I'm going to take a stab at answering this, although I hope someone comes along and writes an even better answer. To begin, I agree with Tᴚoɯɐuo that there is an error in the source material. It may not be entirely ungrammatical, but it's completely nonidiomatic to use "do so" to refer to "having." I'll return to this later.

Your question is whether you can leave out "not" and the answer to that is "no." Did so has a positive polarity. This is incorrect:

He did not answer the question at the time, and did so until ten years later.

You must repeat the negation to match the polarity:

He did not answer the question at the time, and did not do so until ten years later.

Your example in the comments is also incorrect:

I had no pocket money when I was a child and did so until I was well past 17.

This has both the polarity problem and the "can't use do in place of have" problem. If you use "have" as the main verb, a native speaker just wouldn't usually say "do so," except in error. This is downright unnatural sounding:

I did not have a banana yesterday and did not do so until I bought one today.

With "have" we repeat the verb instead of using "do" as a stand-in (repeating the negation is still required):

I did not have a banana yesterday and did not have one until I bought one today.

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