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Passage and PossibilityA Study of Aristotle's Modal Concepts$
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Sarah Waterlow

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198246565

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246565.001.0001

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Aristotelian modality (I)

Aristotelian modality (I)

(p.16) II Aristotelian modality (I)
Passage and Possibility

Sarah Waterlow

Oxford University Press

In Prior Analytics I.13, 32a18–20, Aristotle notes: ‘I say that the possible is that which is not necessary, but which, if we suppose it the case, has no impossible consequences’. Later he speaks as if he has given a definition of possibility, and the reference might be to the passage. Many have complained of circularity on the ground that the quoted statement spells out one modal concept in terms of the others. In connecting the modal and temporal concepts in the definition of possibility in the Analytics, the discussion takes the De Caello I.12 as the basis for a detailed exposition of Aristotelian modality. It traces the internal structure of Aristotle's concept of possibility relative to an actual state of things.

Keywords:   Prior Analytics, possibility, possible, De Caelo, modality, Posterior Analytics

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