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In my paper, I focus on how the notion of ‘possibility’ and ‘potentiality’ has been defined and analysed from ancient philosophy up to the early Middle Ages. I will start considering some aspects of Aristotle’s modal theory and his definition of possibility in terms of change and powers. I will then consider how the Aristotelian definition of possibility was reshaped by Boethius in the late antiquity, who mixed it with elements coming from other traditions, e.g. the philosophy of the Stoics and that of Porphyry. Finally, I will discuss some eleventh- and twelfth-century theories of modalities, and present the new understanding of possibility that was at the basis of their modal logic and of their essentialist metaphysics.
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Seminar coveners: Anna Marmodoro and Andrea Roselli