The Arabic Sea Battle: al-Fārābī on the Problem of Future Contingents

Abstract
Ancient commentators like Ammonius and Boethius tried to solve Aristotle's “sea battle argument” in On Interpretation 9 by saying that statements about future contingents are “indefinitely” true or false. They were followed by al-Fārābī in his commentary on On Interpretation. The article sets out two possible interpretations of what “indefinitely” means here, and shows that al-Fārābī actually has both conceptions: one applied in his interpretation of Aristotle, and another that he is forced into by the problem of divine foreknowledge. It also explains the relevance of al-Fārābī's remarks as a link between the non-statistical modal theories of Philo and Avicenna
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2006.007
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