Tuesday 10 July 2007

Disjunction and Modality

As part of my attempt to explain Auriol's denial, I've been reading Ray Jennings's refreshingly irreverent book The Genealogy of Disjunction (1994). Jennings makes some interesting points about Latin and about the Stoics, but focuses on English 'or' and says little about our period. But he has suggested to me by email that Auriol might think of disjunctions as listing alternative possibilities, so that his denial might be prompted by the modal status of the disjuncts.

This suggestion is promising, because Auriol is adamant that the truth of ‹Antichrist will be› would entail its necessity, and so presumably the impossibility of ‹Antichrist will not be›. And given that the same reasoning should apply to propositions about the present and the past, this might be taken to corroborate my suspicion that Auriol thinks disjunctions are somehow indeterminate.

I'm now keener than ever to seek out any further remarks of Auriol's on disjunction. Watch this space.

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