Chapter

A Method of Modal Proof In Aristotle

Jacob Rosen and Marko Malink

in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644384
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743344 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644384.003.0006

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

A Method of Modal Proof In Aristotle

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In Prior Analytics 1. 15, Aristotle states the following rule of modal logic, which we may call the possibility rule: given the premiss that A is possible, and given a derivation of B from A, it can be inferred that B is possible. Aristotle is the first philosopher known to state this rule, and it stands among his most significant contributions to philosophical thought about modality. He applies the possibility rule in arguments that are central to his physical and metaphysical views, in works such as the Physics, De caelo, De generationeetcorruptione, and the Metaphysics. These arguments have proved difficult to understand, largely because the exact nature of the possibility rule and its role in each argument is often unclear. The chapter offers a comprehensive treatment of the arguments throughout Aristotle's works, resulting in a better understanding both of the possibility rule and of the individual arguments in which it appears.

Keywords: Aristotle; modal logic; possibility; deduction; infinity; eternity; divisibility; motion

Chapter.  32170 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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