Chapter

Change and contingency

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/9780198246565.003.0006
Change and contingency

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This chapter clarifies the connection between Aristotelian possibility and change. In a changeless and timeless universe, the state of things might still be logically contingent in the absolute sense, which demands only that the alternative entails no self-contradiction. For Aristotle, the contingency of something's being F/not-F depends on the prior possibility of its becoming F/not-F. It is this connection with change that explains the temporal asymmetry of his modal concepts. The discussion argues that for him, possibilities and necessities belong primarily not on the level of propositions or their linguistic expressions, but in the extra-linguistic world. It might be maintained that the basic facts of the universe incorporate a definite time-relation as a constituent.

Keywords: F/not-F; Aristotelian change; contingency; universe; causality; pseudo-change; modal asymmetry

Chapter.  12317 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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