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Aristotle - The Organon - index for DE INTERPRETATIONE Book 1 Part 9

Necessity and contradiction, fatalism

  
Paragraph 1 In the case of that which is or which has taken place, propositions, whether positive or negative, must be true or false.
Paragraph 2 When the subject, however, is individual, and that which is predicated of it relates to the future, the case is altered.
Paragraph 3 Thus, if it is true to say that a thing is white, it must necessarily be white;
Paragraph 4 Now if this be so, nothing is or takes place fortuitously, either in the present or in the future, and there are no real alternatives;
Paragraph 5 Again, to say that neither the affirmation nor the denial is true, maintaining, let us say, that an event neither will take place nor will not take place, is to take up a position impossible to defend.
Paragraph 6 These awkward results and others of the same kind follow, if it is an irrefragable law that of every pair of contradictory propositions, whether they have regard to universals and are stated as universally applicable, or whether they have regard to individuals, one must be true and the other false, and that there are no real alternatives, but that all that is or takes place is the outcome of necessity.
Paragraph 7 Further, it makes no difference whether people have or have not actually made the contradictory statements.
Paragraph 8 Yet this view leads to an impossible conclusion;
Paragraph 9 Now that which is must needs be when it is, and that which is not must needs not be when it is not.
Paragraph 10 Let me illustrate.
Paragraph 11 This is the case with regard to that which is not always existent or not always nonexistent.


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