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The Master Argument of Diodorus Cronus

The Master Argument of Diodorus Cronus A Near Miss Nicholas Denyer, Cambridge University 1. Introduction The Queen is not now in North Korea. Does it follow from this fact that either she will be there or else she has no possibility at all of being there? Diodorus Cronus held that it does follow; for he maintained the thesis that something is possible if and only if it either is or will be true (e. g. Boethius, Commentary on the De Interpretatione of Aristotle 234.22–26). The uncontroversial half of this thesis is that whatever either is or will be true is possible. This follows readily once we assume both that what is can be, and also that what will be can be. The first of these assumptions is trivial. The second was in ancient times regarded as scarcely less trivial, if we may judge from the way that it is invoked as unproblematic in e. g. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1047a12–16 and Alexander, On Fate 177.7–21. More controversial is the other half of this thesis, holding that “Nothing is possible that neither is nor will be true.” This was the conclusion of Diodo- rus’ celebrated Master Argument, which, we are told, rested that conclusion on the plausibility of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis Brill

The Master Argument of Diodorus Cronus

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
2666-4283
eISSN
2666-4275
DOI
10.30965/26664275-00201017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A Near Miss Nicholas Denyer, Cambridge University 1. Introduction The Queen is not now in North Korea. Does it follow from this fact that either she will be there or else she has no possibility at all of being there? Diodorus Cronus held that it does follow; for he maintained the thesis that something is possible if and only if it either is or will be true (e. g. Boethius, Commentary on the De Interpretatione of Aristotle 234.22–26). The uncontroversial half of this thesis is that whatever either is or will be true is possible. This follows readily once we assume both that what is can be, and also that what will be can be. The first of these assumptions is trivial. The second was in ancient times regarded as scarcely less trivial, if we may judge from the way that it is invoked as unproblematic in e. g. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1047a12–16 and Alexander, On Fate 177.7–21. More controversial is the other half of this thesis, holding that “Nothing is possible that neither is nor will be true.” This was the conclusion of Diodo- rus’ celebrated Master Argument, which, we are told, rested that conclusion on the plausibility of

Journal

History of Philosophy and Logical AnalysisBrill

Published: Apr 5, 1999

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