Basil Lourié. The Modal Ontology of Dionysius the Areopagite. Vol. 3. No. 1. 2018

Publication Details

The Modal Ontology of Dionysius the Areopagite
Title in the language of publication: Модальная онтология Дионисия Ареопагита
Basil Lourié
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor at the Institute of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Campus in Perm.
Address: 38 Studencheskaya Ulitsa, Perm 614070, Russia.
P. 229–251.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article


The modal ontology of Dionysius is structured as an alethic modal logic containing the axioms K+D+CD. The three-stage hierarchies together with the negation of the being (through the evil) as the fourth accessible state form the full logical square (being = possibility, well-being = perfection = necessity, illumination = internal negation of being, non-being = impossibility = external negation of being). The evil has no existence at all because it is a logical connective (external negation of being). This logic has much in common but also much at odds with Leibniz’s and his Spanish Jesuit ‘predecessors’ deontic logic of the «moral necessity» imposed on the divine Providence. Both have, however, the accessibility relation of uniqueness (in Kripke frames). In Dionysius, no deontic logic could be imposed on God, but the deontic logic for humans who try to be saved (=deified), that is the logic of ascetics (different from the deontic logic of Church law) has shift reflexive accessibility relation. The main differences between Leibniz and Spanish Jesuits, on the one side, and Dionysius and the Eastern Patristics, on the other side, result from their different theological attitudes. The West did not know the Eastern doctrine of deification, and, moreover, these Western thinkers were Augustinians who deliberately tried to avoid what they called «Semi-Pelagianism», but what, in fact, was the normative teaching of the Eastern Fathers on the free will.


Modal logic, alethic modal logic, deontic modal logic, Dionysius the Areopagite, Leibniz, Molinists, Pelagianism, «Semi-Pelagianism», John Cassian, free will.


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© Basil Lourié, 2016

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