Ammonius and the Seabattle: Texts, Commentary, and Essays by Gerhard Seel, Jean-Pierre Schneider, Daniel Schulthess

By Gerhard Seel, Jean-Pierre Schneider, Daniel Schulthess (eds.)

Ever on account that Aristotle's well-known argument concerning the sea-battle the next day to come, there was in depth and debatable dialogue between philosophers even if the reality of statements in regards to the destiny results in determinism. Ther e is controversy approximately Aristotle's personal method to the matter, in addition to the perspectives of classical and medieval commentators on Aristotle. Seel's booklet makes an attempt to respond to this question for the Neoplatonist Ammonius (5th-6th century AD). In so doing, he additionally opens up new insights into Neoplatonic notion.

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Example text

It is obvious that the solutions of both Carneades and the neoplatonic commentators avoid necessaritarianism. However it is not at all clear that they also avoid determinism, as I define it. For it seems that for all times (t) and all types of events (p) it is settled, at each moment in the history of the world, whether or not ρ will occur at t, if the sentence predicting that event as a contingent event are true at each moment before t. How then can we call the position of these philosophers 'indeterministic'?

406, 13-16) that a certain Nicostratus45 denied that future contingent sentences have any truth-values at all. He then contrasts this position with that of the Peripatetics, saying: But the Peripatetics say that the contradiction regarding the future is true or false, while it is by nature unseizable and uncertain which part of it is true and which part is false. For nothing prevents us from saying the contradiction with respect to any time, as for instance 'it will be or it will not be', and each of the two parts contained in it, as for instance 'it will be' or 'it will not be', is already (ηδη) true or false in a definite way (άφωρισμένως) with respect to the present or past time.

This means that the hypothesis that ~p is the case indeed leads to the contradictory assumption of Cp · C~p. Thus, the argument is valid, if the authors understood 'definitely true' in the sense of P(3), while it clearly is a fallacy, if they understood it in the first sense. This is a strong indirect argument in favour of the non-standard interpretation. Only the latter safeguards the authors from the charge of failure. R. Gaskin (1995, 373-74) gives an alternative reconstruction of the argument.

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