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Reigosa Soler, C.

Department of the History of Philosophy

Aristotle’s De Interpretatione 9

Modalities and Semantics for an Open Future

There are two ways of reading Aristotle’s De Interpretatione 9. According to one, Aristotle rejects an argument for fatalism by restricting Bivalence and endorses the view that the future is open. According to another, Aristotle endorses Bivalence and the view that the future is closed, but rejects the fatalist conclusion that the future is necessary. Both interpretations face challenges and objections in making sense of the argument for fatalism and Aristotle’s response to the argument, and in explaining the details of the modalities that Aristotle employs. This paper offers an open-future reading of Aristotle’s solution which (I argue) overcomes many of the long-standing criticisms against this line of interpretation. The proposed reading carefully makes sense of Aristotle’s text, offering a superior reading of how Aristotle understands the fatalist argument(s) and casting new light on precisely what he finds wrong with fatalism. It responds to criticisms of existing open-future interpretations by examining Aristotle’s semantics and modal views in relation to a model for linear time and a model for branching time. I suggest that Aristotle uses a consistent modal framework where modalities quantify truths over times and that in DI 9 his main concern is with a certain type of proposition which has fixed truth-values (if any at all) and changing modal-values.

Last modified:30 August 2018 12.04 p.m.