Stoic Conditionals, Necessity and Explanation

History and Philosophy of Logic 23 (4):241-252 (2002)
Abstract
An examination of a particular passage in Cicero's De fato?Fat. 13?17?is crucial to our understanding of the Stoic theory of the truth-conditions of conditional propositions, for it has been uniquely important in the debate concerning the kind of connection the antecedent and consequent of a Stoic conditional should have to one another. Frede has argued that the passage proves that the connection is one of logical necessity, while Sorabji has argued that positive Stoic attitudes toward empirical inferences elsewhere suggest that that cannot be the right interpretation of the passage. I argue that both parties to the debate have missed a position somewhere between them which both renders a connection between antecedent and consequent that is not merely empirical and makes sense of the actual uses to which the Stoics put the conditional. This will be an account which grounds the connection between antecedent and consequent in a prolêpsis, a special kind of concept which plays a special epistemological role for the Stoics, especially in grounding scientific explanations. My contention will be that Stoic conditionals are true when there is a conceptually necessary connection between antecedent and consequent such that the former explains the latter via a prolêpsis
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