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On Interpratation   


truly predicted at the moment in the past will of necessity take place

in the fullness of time.

Further, it makes no difference whether people have or have not

actually made the contradictory statements. For it is manifest that

the circumstances are not influenced by the fact of an affirmation

or denial on the part of anyone. For events will not take place or

fail to take place because it was stated that they would or would

not take place, nor is this any more the case if the prediction

dates back ten thousand years or any other space of time. Wherefore,

if through all time the nature of things was so constituted that a

prediction about an event was true, then through all time it was

necessary that that should find fulfillment; and with regard to all

events, circumstances have always been such that their occurrence is a

matter of necessity. For that of which someone has said truly that

it will be, cannot fail to take place; and of that which takes

place, it was always true to say that it would be.

Yet this view leads to an impossible conclusion; for we see that

both deliberation and action are causative with regard to the

future, and that, to speak more generally, in those things which are

not continuously actual there is potentiality in either direction.

Such things may either be or not be; events also therefore may

either take place or not take place. There are many obvious

instances of this. It is possible that this coat may be cut in half,

and yet it may not be cut in half, but wear out first. In the same

way, it is possible that it should not be cut in half; unless this

were so, it would not be possible that it should wear out first. So it

is therefore with all other events which possess this kind of

potentiality. It is therefore plain that it is not of necessity that

everything is or takes place; but in some instances there are real

alternatives, in which case the affirmation is no more true and no

more false than the denial; while some exhibit a predisposition and

general tendency in one direction or the other, and yet can issue in

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