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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Diodorus Cronus

Diodorus Cronus (Διόδωρος Κρόνος, Cronus was a nickname, the old 'crone') was a member (or perhaps a late follower) of the Megarian School, whose arguments about the truth and falsity of statements about the future may have influenced Aristotle. But they have certainly influenced modern philosophers who think that philosophical problems can be decided by logic and language games.

Diodorus was known as "The Dialectician," testimony to his sophistry with words, or for his ability to create paradoxes. Epictetus wrote a diatribe "Against those who embrace philosophical opinions only in words," in Book 2, Chapter 1, of his Discourses. It is our major reference to Diodorus and his famous Master Argument (the κυριεύων or κύριος λόγος).

Master Argument is a misleading translation. A better translation for κύριος λόγος might be the Main or Principal Argument. The familiar English title was probably translated by a Christian scholar, for whom κύριος translates English "Sir" and the Hebrew Ba'al, to give us "Lord" and "Master." Ba'al is husband, lord, and master in modern Israeli Hebrew.

Diodorus' Master Argument is a set of propositions designed to show that the actual is the only possible and that some true statements about the future imply that the future is already determined. This follows logically from his observation that if something in the future is not going to happen, it must have been that statements in the past that it would not happen must have been true.

The Master Argument was central in the Hellenistic debates about determinism, as shown by Cicero's descriptions in On Fate.

It is closely related to the problem of future contingency, also discussed by Diodorus, but made famous in Aristotle's example of a Sea-Battle in De Interpretatione 9. Aristotle thought statements about the past and present must be either true or false. But statements about the future are only potentials, possibilities, so they lack any truth value until their potential becomes actual at some time in the future.

Note that there are in fact some things in the past that can be changed in the future. It is the truth value of a statement made in the past. Aristotle's statement "there will be a sea-battle next week," can "actually" be changed if the event does not happen, showing that the concept of a "fixed past," so important in analytic language philosophy debates about free will, has some changeability. In language philosophy, the "fixed past" is far from fixed.

Diodorus was a great logician and word-juggler. Like Socrates, he wrote little or nothing and preferred verbal debates. The Dialectician was a precursor of the later language game players, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, and Daniel Dennett.

Diodorus applied Democritus' great insight that much knowledge is pure convention (νόμος), but "in reality" there is only atoms and a void. For him, language definitions were conventional and quite arbitrary. His most famous example was the linguistic puzzle of how to define a "heap" (philosophers call this the Sorites paradox, from Greek σωρείτης so-ri'-tes, meaning "heaped up"). When does a number of grains become a heap? One? No. Two? No. Three? Etc. Or, given a heap of grains, as you take grains away, at which point does it stop being a heap?

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Epictetus on the Master Argument
Ὁ κυριεύων λόγος ἀπὸ τοιούτων τινῶν ἀφορμῶν ἠρωτῆσθαι φαίνεται: κοινῆς γὰρ οὔσης μάχης τοῖς τρισὶ τούτοις πρὸς ἄλληλα,
τῷ [τὸ] πᾶν παρεληλυθὸς ἀληθὲς ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι
καὶ τῷ [ἀ]δυνατῷ ἀδύνατον μὴ ἀκολουθεῖν
καὶ τῷ [*? δυνατὸν εἶναι ὃ οὔτ᾽ ἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτ᾽ ἔσται,
συνιδὼν τὴν μάχην ταύτην ὁ Διόδωρος τῇ τῶν πρώτων δυεῖν πιθανότητι συνεχρήσατο πρὸς παράστασιν
τοῦ μηδὲν εἶναι δυνατόν, ὃ οὔτ᾽ ἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτ᾽ ἔσται.
[2] λοιπὸν ὁ μέν τις ταῦτα τηρήσει τῶν δυεῖν, ὅτι ἔστι τέ τι δυνατόν, ὃ οὔτ᾽ ἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτ᾽ ἔσται, καὶ δυνατῷ ἀδύνατον οὐκ ἀκολουθεῖ: οὐ πᾶν δὲ παρεληλυθὸς ἀληθὲς ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστιν, καθάπερ οἱ περὶ Κλεάνθην φέρεσθαι δοκοῦσιν, οἷς ἐπὶ πολὺ συνηγόρησεν Ἀντίπατρος. [3] οἱ δὲ τἆλλα δύο, ὅτι δυνατόν τ᾽ ἐστίν, ὃ οὔτ᾽ ἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτ᾽ ἔσται, καὶ πᾶν παρεληλυθὸς ἀληθὲς ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστιν, δυνατῷ δ᾽ ἀδύνατον ἀκολουθεῖ. [4] τὰ τρία δ᾽ ἐκεῖνα τηρῆσαι ἀμήχανον διὰ τὸ κοινὴν εἶναι αὐτῶν μάχην.

The argument called the ruling argument (ὁ κυριεύων λόγος) appears to have been proposed from such principles as these: there is in fact a common contradiction between one another in these three propositions, each two being in contradiction to the third. The propositions are,

that every thing past must of necessity be true;
that an impossibility does not follow a possibility;
and that a thing is possible which neither is nor will be true.
Diodorus observing this contradiction employed the probative force of the first two for the demonstration of this proposition,
That nothing is possible which is not true and never will be.
Now another will hold these two: That something is possible. which is neither true nor ever will be: and That an impossibility does not follow a possibility. But he will not allow that every thing which is past is necessarily true, as the followers of Cleanthes seem to think, and Antipater copiously defended them. But others maintain the other two propositions, That a thing is possible which is neither true nor will be true: and That everything which is past is necessarily true; but then they will maintain that an impossibility can follow a possibility. But it is impossible to maintain these three propositions, because of their common contradiction.
(Discourses, Book 2, chapter 1, "Against those who embrace philosophical opinions only in words," Perseus Project, Tufts
Epictetus continues:
If then any man should ask me, which of these propositions do you maintain? I will answer him, that I do not know; but I have received this story, that Diodorus maintained one opinion, the followers of Panthoides, I think, and Cleanthes maintained another opinion, and those of Chrysippus a third. What then is your opinion? I was not made for this purpose, to examine the appearances that occur to me, and to compare what others say and to form an opinion of my own on the thing. Therefore I differ not at all from the grammarian.
Notes

1.

Bibliography

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