Sarah Waterlow

in Passage and Possibility

Published in print June 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246565
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681011 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that the charge that Aristotle merges modal with extensional concepts is baseless. His doctrines A' and B' link possibility and necessity with realization at some and at all times. Correctly interpreted, these propositions support the opposite view: that for him, these connections are syntheses of irreducibly different concepts. There is his temporalized approach to modality, where possibility is seen as relative to an actual state of affairs in the history of the universe. Time has a bearing here, since the possibility itself belongs at the time, as would the realization should it occur. The discussion argues that this is his only conception of possibility. A' and B' in the versions considered here depend on the non-formal assumptions cogent only in the archaic context of Aristotle's organic metaphysics of substance.

Keywords: A'; B'; modal concepts; time; propositions; Aristotle; possibility

Chapter.  1332 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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