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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008

15 - Determinism and indeterminism

from PART IV - PHYSICS AND METAPHYSICS
Summary
It is one thing to accept that every event is caused, quite another to believe that the nature and sequence of all events is rigidly fixed for all eternity. The latter belief forms the core of any determinism. The Stoics accepted the timelessness of truth, and hence the determination of all truths; the Epicureans discountenanced the determination of all truths, and hence rejected their timelessness, as well as bivalence. This chapter provides logical arguments designed to show that the principle of bivalence entails determinism. Even if that argument fails, there is still work to be done for the anti-determinist. According to Chrysippus, fate is an ineluctable chain of antecedent causes. The Stoics can, Alexander allows, give a natural history of their genesis. But to give a natural historical explanation is precisely to explain them away, to show how they can have the appearance of content without actually possessing any: but that is hard, and not soft, determinism.
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The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053617
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521250283
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