History of Ancient Philosophy - Aristotle's De interpretatione and its ancient interlocutors: truth and necessity

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The course is primarily aimed at PhD students, but will be accessible also to students of the ordinary course. A good command of ancient Greek is desirable, though not strictly indispensable.


Aristotle’s De interpretatione and its Ancient Interlocutors: Truth and Necessity.

These lectures will be a continuation of those for the students of the ordinary course. We shall analyse chs. 9–14 of De interpretatione, where Aristotle deals with a series of logico-philosophical issues concerning the behaviour of declarative sentences with respect to negation, truth values and modal notions (possible, impossible, necessary). We shall devote special attention to the famous ch. 9, which discusses the problem of determinism in connection with the assignment of truth values to sentences about future contingent events. In doing so we shall also compare Aristotle’s views on these issues both with those of other ancient philosophers – especially Stoics and Epicureans – and with contemporary philosophical debates on truth and determinism.

Educational aims

The course will propose a detailed examination, in seminar form, of fundamental philosophical texts and issues from classical antiquity, considered from various points of view: historical genesis and fortune, conceptual substance, philological issues. 

Bibliographical references

Critical editions:

  • Minio-Paluello, L. (ed.), Aristotelis Categoriae et Liber De Interpretatione (Oxford, 1949).
  • Weidemann, H. (ed.), Aristoteles, De interpretatione (ΠΕΡΙ ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑΣ) (Berlin and New York, 2014).



Translations and commentaries:

  • Ackrill, J.L., Aristotle: Categories and De interpretatione (Oxford, 1963).
  • Weidemann, H., Aristoteles: Peri hermeneias, 3rd edn (Berlin, 2014). 


Further literature:

  • Bobzien, S., Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy (Oxford, 1998).
  • Crivelli, P., Aristotle on Truth (Cambridge, 2004).
  • Weidemann, H., ‘De interpretatione’, in C. Shields (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle (Oxford, 2012), 81–112
  • Whitaker, C.W.A., Aristotle’s De interpretatione: Contradiction and Dialectic (Oxford, 1996).


More bibliographical information will be provided during the course.