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Necessity or Contingency: The Master Argument
by Jules Vuillemin
CSLI, 1996
eISBN: 978-1-57586-897-4 | Cloth: 978-1-881526-86-5 | Paper: 978-1-881526-85-8
Library of Congress Classification B187.N4V8513 1996
Dewey Decimal Classification 123.709

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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