The Puzzle Of The Sea Battle Essay

1654 Words Dec 12th, 2016 7 Pages
The puzzle of the Sea Battle ultimately functions as a counterexample or exception to the principle of bivalence. The problem is as follows: suppose somebody states the following proposition, “There will be a Sea Battle tomorrow.” According to bivalence, this proposition must either be true or false. For, if it were to lack a truth-value, there is a logical gap, and if it’s both true and false, there lies a contradiction. By denying a truth-value to the proposition, one denies bivalence, but maintaining it has a truth-value is an assertion of fatalism. The problem with the proposition lies in the future contingent tense. When you consider a disjunction of the two alternatives “Either there will be a Sea Battle tomorrow or there will not be a Sea Battle tomorrow,” one of the disjuncts must be true for the proposition itself to be true. Yet, because both disjuncts are statements about how the future will unfold, to assert either disjuncts a truth-value is to suppose the future is fixed.
In his solution to the puzzle of the Sea Battle, Aristotle concedes that the proposition can neither be true nor false:

“It is necessary for everything either to be or not to be, and indeed to be going to be or not going to be. But one cannot divide [the contradictories] and say that one or the other is necessary…It is necessary for there to be or not to be a sea battle tomorrow, but it is not necessary for a sea battle to happen tomorrow, nor is it necessary for one not to happen. It is…

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