Chapter

Aristotelian modality (I)

Sarah Waterlow

in Passage and Possibility

Published in print June 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246565
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681011 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246565.003.0002
Aristotelian modality (I)

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In Prior Analytics I.13, 32a18–20, Aristotle notes: ‘I say that the possible is that which is not necessary, but which, if we suppose it the case, has no impossible consequences’. Later he speaks as if he has given a definition of possibility, and the reference might be to the passage. Many have complained of circularity on the ground that the quoted statement spells out one modal concept in terms of the others. In connecting the modal and temporal concepts in the definition of possibility in the Analytics, the discussion takes the De Caello I.12 as the basis for a detailed exposition of Aristotelian modality. It traces the internal structure of Aristotle's concept of possibility relative to an actual state of things.

Keywords: Prior Analytics; possibility; possible; De Caelo; modality; Posterior Analytics

Chapter.  6093 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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