In Max Cresswel, Edwin Mares & Adriane Rini (eds.), Logical Modalities from Aristotle to Carnap: The Story of Necessity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 70-90 (2016)

Vanessa de Harven
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
At the heart of the Stoic theory of modality is a strict commitment to bivalence, even for future contingents. A commitment to both future truth and contingency has often been thought paradoxical. This paper argues that the Stoic retreat from necessity is successful. it maintains that the Stoics recognized three distinct senses of necessity and possibility: logical, metaphysical and providential. Logical necessity consists of truths that are knowable a priori. Metaphysical necessity consists of truths that are knowable a posteriori, a world order according to certain metaphysical principles and natures that god crafts within the constraints of matter. Finally, what is providentially necessary is what occurs according to the chain of fate, but only once it is in process or past. The method of the paper is a close reading of Diogenes Laertius 7.75, adducing broad textual evidence along the way, to show that the Stoic theory of modality embraces Philonian possibility, both that which is capable of being true as a matter of logical consistency, and that which is possible according to the bare fitness of the entity. What differentiates the Stoics from Philo is their additional commitment to possibility as opportunity, resisting the collapse of determinism into necessity.
Keywords Stoic modal theory  Stoic metaphysics  Stoic determinism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Diodoran Modalities.A. N. Prior - 1955 - Philosophical Quarterly 5 (20):205-213.
Stoic Determinism and Alexander of Aphrodisias De Fato (I-Xiv).A. A. Long - 1970 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 52 (3):247-268.
Ancient Formal Logic.Joseph M. Bochenski - 1951 - Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co..
Chrysippus' Modal Logic and Its Relation to Philo and Diodorus.Susanne Bobzien - 1993 - In K. Doering & Th Ebert (eds.), Dialektiker und Stoiker. Franz Steiner. pp. 63--84.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Medieval Modal Spaces.I.—Robert Pasnau - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):225-254.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Early Stoic Determinism.Susanne Bobzien - 2005 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 4 (4):489-516.
Die stoische Modallogik (Stoic Modal Logic).Susanne Bobzien - 1986 - Wuerzburg: Koenigshausen and Neumann.
Stoic Conceptions of Freedom and Their Relation to Ethics.Susanne Bobzien - 1997 - Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 41 (S68):71-89.
Logic: The Stoics (Part Two).Susanne Bobzien - 1999 - In Keimpe Algra, Jonathan Barnes & et al (eds.), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Stoics Against Stoics In Cudworth's A Treatise of Freewill.John Sellars - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):935-952.
Chrysippus' Modal Logic and Its Relation to Philo and Diodorus.Susanne Bobzien - 1993 - In K. Doering & Th Ebert (eds.), Dialektiker und Stoiker. Franz Steiner. pp. 63--84.
Stoic Conditionals, Necessity and Explanation.Scott Labarge - 2002 - History and Philosophy of Logic 23 (4):241-252.
The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism (Review).Maykʻl Papazian - 2007 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3):488-490.


Added to PP index

Total views
984 ( #6,298 of 2,499,677 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
96 ( #7,512 of 2,499,677 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes