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Northern European Journal of Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Addis, Mark / Hämäläinen, Nora / Pedersen, Esther Oluffa / Westphal, Kenneth R.

Managing Editor: Pedersen, Esther Oluffa

Together with Niknam, Arman Teymouri

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Volume 19, Issue 2


Chrysippus’ counterargument against the Master Argument: a reappraisal

Mauro Nasti De Vincentis
Published Online: 2018-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats-2018-2001


It is widely held that as a nego suppositum, Chrysippus’ response to Diodorus Cronus’ Master Argument is that the impossible “this man has died” follows from the possible “Dio has died”. A principal claim of this article is that Chrysippus was not actually committed, against Diodorus, to the tenet that there are deductions and conditionals whereby from the possible the impossible follows. I argue that this is most likely part of a Chrysippean exemplum fictum of a real dialectical discussion and it merely reflects a Chrysippean dialectical strategy, a merely instrumental agreement (συγχώρησις) with Diodorus on the admissibility of some single-premised arguments. As historical evidence for my conjecture I highlight two key passages by Sextus Empiricus which help to understand that Chrysippus’ real tenet was an ancient implicational counterpart of a deictic version of the Identity-Elimination Rule, whereas most likely, according to Diodorus the identitarian major premiss of this rule is redundant, so that it must be eliminated.

Keywords: Master Argument; Deixis; Identity-Elimination; Eschatological Axiom


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-07-17

Published in Print: 2018-11-27

Citation Information: SATS, Volume 19, Issue 2, Pages 139–159, ISSN (Online) 1869-7577, ISSN (Print) 1600-1974, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats-2018-2001.

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