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Necessity and contingency in the Hobbes-Bramhall controversy

Grant number: 14/27308-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2015
Effective date (End): January 10, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Maria das Graças de Souza
Grantee:Celi Hirata
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The aim of the postdoctoral research proposed is to examine the arguments used by Hobbes in "The questions concerning liberty, necessity and chance" in the assertion that all events occur necessarily, in order to determine what kind of necessity Hobbes establishes in opposition to the doctrine of future contingents that is supported by Bramhall. In this work, which contains a great part of the controversy between Hobbes and the Bishop of Derry concerning liberty and necessity, the author of the Leviathan presents several arguments for the necessity of all things, demonstrating it not only by means of the semantic identification of sufficient cause and necessary cause (proof that he also presents at the Short Tract and at the De Corpore), or arguing that any change would be unintelligible without a necessary cause, or resorting to the principle of bivalence, but also by means of theological arguments, claiming that the doctrine of future contingents is incompatible with divine foreknowledge and providence and that the necessity of all things results from the divine decree. Therefore, there is a superposition of logical and theological arguments, so that it is difficult to establish a hierarchy between them, as well as a fusion of different senses of necessity, namely, a logical necessity and a physical necessity, what we aim to clarify in our research. Besides this research we intend to fully translate "The questions concerning liberty, necessity and chance" into Portuguese. (AU)

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