The master argument of Diodorus Cronus

Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 57)


Diodorus Cronus (ca. 340–280 B.C.) was a philosopher of the Megarian school [Sedley 1977]. He achieved wide fame as a logician and a formulator of philosophical paradoxes. The most well-known of these paradoxes is the so-called ‘Master Argument’ which in Antiquity was understood as an argument designed to prove the truth of fatalism. Unfortunately, only the premises and the conclusion of the argument are known. We know almost nothing about the way in which Diodorus used his premises in order to reach the conclusion. During the last few decades various philosophers and logicians have tried to reconstruct the argument as it might have been. The reconstruction of the Master Argument certainly constitutes a genuine problem within the history of logic. It should, however, be noted that the argument has been studied for reasons other than historical. First of all, the Master Argument has been read as an argument for determinism. Secondly, the Master Argument can be regarded as an attempt to clarify the conceptual relations between time and modality. When seen in this perspective any attempted reconstruction of the argument is important also from a systematic point of view, and this is obviously true for any version of the argument, even if it is historically incorrect.


Future Time True Proposition Past Time Temporal Atomist Modal Concept 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

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