The Arabic Sea Battle: al-Fārābī on the Problem of Future Contingents : Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by Horn, Christoph / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Together with Carriero, John / Meyer, Susan Sauvé

Editorial Board Member: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter


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The Arabic Sea Battle: al-Fārābī on the Problem of Future Contingents

Peter Adamson1

1

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. Volume 88, Issue 2, Pages 163–188, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: 10.1515/AGPH.2006.007, August 2006

Publication History

Published Online:
2006-08-14

Abstract

Ancient commentators like Ammonius and Boethius tried to solve Aristotle's “sea battle argument” in On Interpretation 9 by saying that statements about future contingents are “indefinitely” true or false. They were followed by al-Fārābī in his commentary on On Interpretation. The article sets out two possible interpretations of what “indefinitely” means here, and shows that al-Fārābī actually has both conceptions: one applied in his interpretation of Aristotle, and another that he is forced into by the problem of divine foreknowledge. It also explains the relevance of al-Fārābī's remarks as a link between the non-statistical modal theories of Philo and Avicenna.

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