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Necessity or Contingency? The Master Argument and its Philosophical Solutions by Jules (University of Paris) Vuillemin

Necessity or Contingency? The Master Argument and its Philosophical Solutions

Part of the Center for the Study of Language and Information Publication Lecture Notes Series


Necessity or Contingency? The Master Argument and its Philosophical Solutions by Jules (University of Paris) Vuillemin

The Master Argument, recorded by Epictetus, indicates that Diodorus had deduced a contradiction from the conjoint assertion of three propositions. The Argument, which has to do with necessity and contingency and therefore with freedom, has attracted the attention of logicians above all. There have been many attempts at reconstructing it in logical terms, without excessive worry about historical plausibility and with the foregone conclusion that it was sophistic since it directly imperilled our common sense notion of freedom. This text takes exception to recent tradition, translating the propositions into logical terms. The propositions figuring in The Master Argument are interpreted in terms of temporal modal logic where both the modalities and the statements they govern have chronological indices. This means that the force of the argument comes not from purely logical or modal considerations, but from our experience of time.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 1996


Jules (University of Paris) Vuillemin

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Cambridge University Press


250 pages


Philosophy: logic



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