The Open Future

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  1. Assessment Sensitivity About Future Contingents, Vindication and Self-Refutation.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - manuscript
    John MacFarlane has recently argued that his brand of truth relativism – Assessment Sensitivity – provides the best solution to the puzzle of future contingents: statements about the future that are metaphysically neither necessary nor impossible. In this paper, we show that even if we grant all of the metaphysical, semantic and pragmatic assumptions in terms of which MacFarlane sets and solves the puzzle, Assessment Sensitivity is ultimately self-refuting.
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  2. Modeling Future Indeterminacy in Possibility Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    I consider the application of possibility semantics to the modeling of the indeterminacy of the future. I argue that interesting problems arise in connection to the addition of object-language determinacy operator. I show that adding a two-dimensional layer to possibility semantics can help solve these problems.
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  3. The Modal Future Hypothesis Debugged.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    This note identifies and corrects some problems in developments of the thesis that predictive expressions, such as English "will", are modals. I contribute a new argument supporting Cariani and Santorio's recent claim that predictive expressions are non-quantificational modals. At the same time, I improve on their selectional semantics by fixing an important bug. Finally, I show that there are benefits to be reaped by integrating the selection semantics framework with standard ideas about the future orientation of modals.
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  4. Our Naïve Representation of Time and of the Open Future.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - manuscript
    It’s generally thought that we naively or pre-theoretically represent the future to be open. While philosophers have modelled future openness in different ways, it’s unclear which, if any, captures our naïve sense that the future is open. In this paper we focus on just one way the future might count as being open: by being nomically open, and empirically investigate whether our naïve representation of the future as open is partly constituted by representing the future as nomically open. We also (...)
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  5. Why Do People Represent Time as Dynamical? An Investigation of Temporal Dynamism and the Open Future.Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - manuscript
    Deflationists hold that it does not seem to us, in experience, as though time robustly passes. There is some recent empirical evidence that appears to support this contention. Equally, empirical evidence suggests that we naïvely represent time as dynamical. Thus deflationists are faced with an explanatory burden. If, as they maintain, the world seems to us in experience as though it is non-dynamical, then why do we represent time as dynamical? This paper takes up the challenge of investigating, on the (...)
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  6. Freedom and the Open Future.Yishai Cohen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    I draw upon Helen Steward’s concept of agential settling to argue that freedom requires an ability to change the truth-value of tenseless future contingents over time from false to true and that this ability requires a metaphysically open future.
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  7. Alethic Openness and the Growing Block Theory of Time.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham, Jordan Lee-Tory & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Whatever its ultimate philosophical merits, it is often thought that the growing block theory presents an intuitive picture of reality that accords well with our pre-reflective or folk view of time, and of the past, present and future. This is partly motivated by the idea that we find it intuitive that in some sense the future is open and the past closed, and that the growing block theory is particularly well suited to accommodate this being so. In this paper we (...)
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  8. Probing the Mind of God: Divine Beliefs and Credences.Elizabeth Jackson & Justin Mooney - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-15.
    Although much has been written about divine knowledge, and some on divine beliefs, virtually nothing has been written about divine credences. In this essay we comparatively assess four views on divine credences: (1) God has only beliefs, not credences; (2) God has both beliefs and credences; (3) God has only credences, not beliefs; and (4) God has neither credences nor beliefs, only knowledge. We weigh the costs and benefits of these four views and draw connections to current discussions in philosophical (...)
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  9. The Growing Block, the Open Future, and Future Truths.Stephan Torre - forthcoming - Disputatio.
    For a book symposium in Disputatio on Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz's Nothing to Come.
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  10. Branching Time and Doomsday.Giacomo Andreoletti - 2022 - Ratio 35 (2):79-90.
    Branching time is a popular theory of time that is intended to account for the openness of the future. Generally, branching-time models the openness of the future by positing a multiplicity of concrete alternative futures mirroring all the possible ways the future could unfold. A distinction is drawn in the literature among branching-time theories: those that make use of moment-based structures and those that employ history-based ones. In this paper, I introduce and discuss a particular kind of openness relative to (...)
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  11. DOES Success Entail Ability?David Boylan - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):570-601.
    This paper is about the principle that success entails ability, which I call Success. I argue the status of Success is highly puzzling: when we focus on past instances of actually successful action, Success is very compelling; but it is in tension with the idea that true ability claims require an action be in the agent's control. I make the above tension precise by considering the logic of ability. I argue Success is appealing because it is classically equivalent to two (...)
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  12. The Future Ain’T What It Used to Be: Strengthening the Case for Mutable Futurism.Giacomo Andreoletti & Giuseppe Spolaore - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10569-10585.
    This paper explores mutable futurism, the view according to which the future can literally change—that is, it can happen that a future time t changes from containing an event E to lacking it. Mutable futurism has received little attention so far, and the details and implications of the view are underexplored in the literature. For instance, it currently lacks a precise metaphysical model and a formal semantics. Although we do not endorse mutable futurism, our goal here is to strengthen the (...)
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  13. Human Foreknowledge.Fabrizio Cariani - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):50-69.
    I explore the motivation and logical consequences of the idea that we have some (limited) ability to know contingent facts about the future, even in presence of the assumption that the future is objectively unsettled or indeterminate. I start by formally characterizing skepticism about the future. This analysis nudges the anti-skeptic towards the idea that if some propositions about the future are objectively indeterminate, then it may be indeterminate whether a suitably positioned agent knows them. -/- Philosophical Perspectives, Volume 35, (...)
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  14. Knowledge of Future Contingents.Andrea Iacona - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):447-467.
    This paper addresses the question whether future contingents are knowable, that is, whether one can know that things will go a certain way even though it is possible that things will not go that way. First I will consider a long-established view that implies a negative answer, and draw attention to some endemic problems that affect its credibility. Then I will sketch an alternative line of thought that prompts a positive answer: future contingents are knowable, although our epistemic access of (...)
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  15. The phenomenology and metaphysics of the open future.Derek Lam - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3895-3921.
    Intuitively, the future is open and the past fixed: there is something we can do about the future but not the past. Some metaphysicians believe that a proper metaphysics of time must vindicate this intuition. Whereas philosophers have focused on the future and the past, the status of the present remains relatively unexplored. Drawing on resources from action theory, I argue that there is something we can do about the present just like there is something we can do about the (...)
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  16. Open Future, Supervaluationism and the Growing-Block Theory: A Stage-Theoretical Account.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14249-14266.
    I present a ‘stage-theoretical’ interpretation of the supervaluationist semantics for the growing-block theory of time according to which the ‘nodes’ on the branching tree of historical possibilities are taken to be possible stages of the growth of the growing-block. As I will argue, the resulting interpretation (i) is very intuitive, (ii) can easily ward off an objection to supervaluationist treatments of the growing-block theory presented by Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz, and (iii) is also not saddled by the problems affecting (...)
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  17. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False.Patrick Todd - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book launches a sustained defense of a radical interpretation of the doctrine of the open future. Patrick Todd argues that all claims about undetermined aspects of the future are simply false.
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  18. Future Contingents and the Logic of Temporal Omniscience.Patrick Todd & Brian Rabern - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):102-127.
    At least since Aristotle’s famous 'sea-battle' passages in On Interpretation 9, some substantial minority of philosophers has been attracted to the doctrine of the open future--the doctrine that future contingent statements are not true. But, prima facie, such views seem inconsistent with the following intuition: if something has happened, then (looking back) it was the case that it would happen. How can it be that, looking forwards, it isn’t true that there will be a sea battle, while also being true (...)
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  19. Back to the (Branching) Future.Giacomo Andreoletti - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):181-194.
    The future is different from the past. What is past is fixed and set in stone. The future, on the other hand, is open insofar as it holds numerous possibilities. Branching-tree models of time account for this asymmetry by positing an ontological difference between the past and the future. Given a time t, a unique unified past lies behind t, whereas multiple alternative existing futures lie ahead of t. My goal in this paper is to show that there is an (...)
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  20. Assertion and the Future.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 481-504.
    It is disputed what norm, if any, governs assertion. We address this question by looking at assertions of future contingents: statements about the future that are neither metaphysically necessary nor metaphysically impossible. Many philosophers think that future contingents are not truth apt, which together with a Truth Norm or a Knowledge Norm of assertion implies that assertions of these future contingents are systematically infelicitous. In this article, we argue that our practice of asserting future contingents is incompatible with the view (...)
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  21. Future Ontology: Indeterminate Existence or Non-existence?Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1493-1500.
    The Growing Block Theory of time says that the metaphysical openness of the future should be understood in terms of there not being any future objects or events. But in a series of works, Ross Cameron, Elizabeth Barnes, and Robbie Williams have developed a competing view that understands metaphysical openness in terms of it being indeterminate whether there exist future objects or events. I argue that the three reasons they give for preferring their account are not compelling. And since the (...)
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  22. The Problem of Future Contingents: Scoping Out a Solution.Patrick Todd - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5051-5072.
    Various philosophers have long since been attracted to the doctrine that future contingent propositions systematically fail to be true—what is sometimes called the doctrine of the open future. However, open futurists have always struggled to articulate how their view interacts with standard principles of classical logic—most notably, with the Law of Excluded Middle. For consider the following two claims: Trump will be impeached tomorrow; Trump will not be impeached tomorrow. According to the kind of open futurist at issue, both of (...)
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  23. The Invisible Thin Red Line.Giuliano Torrengo & Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (3):354-382.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that the adoption of an unrestricted principle of bivalence is compatible with a metaphysics that (i) denies that the future is real, (ii) adopts nomological indeterminism, and (iii) exploits a branching structure to provide a semantics for future contingent claims. To this end, we elaborate what we call Flow Fragmentalism, a view inspired by Kit Fine (2005)’s non-standard tense realism, according to which reality is divided up into maximally coherent collections of tensed (...)
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  24. Fatalism and Future Contingents.Giacomo Andreoletti - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (3):1-14.
    In this paper I address issues related to the problem of future contingents and the metaphysical doctrine of fatalism. Two classical responses to the problem of future contingents are the third truth value view and the all-false view. According to the former, future contingents take a third truth value which goes beyond truth and falsity. According to the latter, they are all false. I here illustrate and discuss two ways to respectively argue for those two views. Both ways are similar (...)
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  25. Aquinas, Geach, and Existence.Damiano Costa - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):175-195.
    Aquinas’ theory of being has received a growing amount of attention from contemporary scholars, both from a historic and a philosophical point of view. An important source of this attention is Geach’s seminal Form and Existence. In it, Geach argues that Aquinas subscribes to a tensed notion of existence and a theory of time according to which past and future entities do not exist in act. Subsequent commentators, such as Kenny in his Aquinas on Being, have agreed with Geach on (...)
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  26. The Neo-Molinist Square Stands Firm: A Rejoinder to Kirk MacGregor.Elijah Hess - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (2):391-406.
    In a previous issue of Philosophia Christi, Kirk MacGregor responded to an essay of mine in which I argued for a neo-Molinist account of open theism. The argument demonstrated how, given standard counterfactual semantics, one could derive an “open future square of opposition,” that is, a depiction of the logical relations that hold between future-tense statements from an open theistic standpoint. Conceding the validity of the argument, MacGregor nevertheless sought to deny its soundness by criticizing both its conclusion and the (...)
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  27. Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  28. Imprints in Time: Towards a Moderately Robust Past.Michael Longenecker - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2429-2446.
    Presentism says that only present objects exist. But the view has trouble grounding past-tensed truths like “dinosaurs existed”. Standard Eternalism grounds those truths by positing the existence of past objects—like dinosaurs. But Standard Eternalism conflicts with the intuition that there is genuine change—the intuition that there once were dinosaurs and no longer are any. I offer a novel theory of time—‘The Imprint’—that does a better job preserving both the grounding and genuine change intuitions. The Imprint says that the past and (...)
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  29. A Note on Aristotle and Beliefs About the Future.Bo R. Meinertsen - 2017 - In He Xirong, Peter Jonkers & Shi Yongze (eds.), Philosophy and the Life-World: Chinese Philosophical Studies, XXXIII. Washington, DC, USA: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. pp. 207-213.
    This note falls into two main parts. In the first part, I shall consider the question of whether or not Aristotle believed that there can be true statements about what will happen in the future. I will first clarify this question, which will involve consideration of some logical and metaphysical notions in Aristotle. I will then argue that the answer to the question is ‘No’ (with a qualification). In the second part, I shall argue that his view is correct. I (...)
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  30. Against the Russellian Open Future.Anders J. Schoubye & Brian Rabern - 2017 - Mind 126 (504): 1217–1237.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further (...)
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  31. Causal and Moral Indeterminacy.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):434-447.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
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  32. On Behalf of a Mutable Future.Patrick Todd - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2077-2095.
    Everyone agrees that we can’t change the past. But what about the future? Though the thought that we can change the future is familiar from popular discourse, it enjoys virtually no support from philosophers, contemporary or otherwise. In this paper, I argue that the thesis that the future is mutable has far more going for it than anyone has yet realized. The view, I hope to show, gains support from the nature of prevention, can provide a new way of responding (...)
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  33. Future Contingents Are All False! On Behalf of a Russellian Open Future.Patrick Todd - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):775-798.
    There is a familiar debate between Russell and Strawson concerning bivalence and ‘the present King of France’. According to the Strawsonian view, ‘The present King of France is bald’ is neither true nor false, whereas, on the Russellian view, that proposition is simply false. In this paper, I develop what I take to be a crucial connection between this debate and a different domain where bivalence has been at stake: future contingents. On the familiar ‘Aristotelian’ view, future contingent propositions are (...)
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  34. The Puzzle of the Changing Past.Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):59-67.
    If you utter sentence ‘Obama was born in 1961’ now, you say something true about the past. Since the past will always be such that the year 1961 has the property of being a time in which Obama was born, it seems impossible that could ever be false in a future context of utterance. We shall consider the case of a sentence about the past exactly like , but which was true when uttered a few years ago and is no (...)
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  35. Ockhamism and Quantified Modal Logic.Andrea Iacona - 2015 - Logique Et Analyse 58:353-370.
    This paper outlines a formal account of tensed sentences that is consistent with Ockhamism, a view according to which future contingents are either true or false. The account outlined substantively differs from the attempts that have been made so far to provide a formal apparatus for such a view in terms of some expressly modified version of branching time semantics. The system on which it is based is the simplest quantified modal logic.
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  36. Introduction.Patrick Todd & John Martin Fischer - 2015 - In John Martin Fischer & Patrick Todd (eds.), Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 01-38.
    This Introduction has three sections, on "logical fatalism," "theological fatalism," and the problem of future contingents, respectively. In the first two sections, we focus on the crucial idea of "dependence" and the role it plays it fatalistic arguments. Arguably, the primary response to the problems of logical and theological fatalism invokes the claim that the relevant past truths or divine beliefs depend on what we do, and therefore needn't be held fixed when evaluating what we can do. We call the (...)
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  37. Towards a New Theory of Historical Counterfactuals.Jacek Wawer & Leszek Wroński - 2015 - In Pavel Arazim & Michal Dancak (eds.), Logica Yearbook 2014. College Publications. pp. 293-310.
    We investigate the semantics of historical counterfactuals in indeterministic contexts. We claim that "plain" and "necessitated" counterfactuals differ in meaning. To substantiate this claim, we propose a new semantic treatment of historical counterfactuals in the Branching Time framework. We supplement our semantics with supervaluationist postsemantics, thanks to which we can explain away the intuitions which seem to talk in favor of the identification of "would" with "would necessarily".
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  38. Ockhamism Without Thin Red Lines.Andrea Iacona - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2633-2652.
    This paper investigates the logic of Ockhamism, a view according to which future contingents are either true or false. Several attempts have been made to give rigorous shape to this view by defining a suitable formal semantics, but arguably none of them is fully satisfactory. The paper draws attention to some problems that beset such attempts, and suggests that these problems are different symptoms of the same initial confusion, in that they stem from the unjustified assumption that the actual course (...)
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  39. No-Futurism and Metaphysical Contingentism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (4):483-497.
    According to no-futurism, past and present entities are real, but future ones are not. This view faces a skeptical challenge (Bourne 2002, 2006, Braddon-Mitchell, 2004): if no-futurism is true, how do you know you are present? I shall propose a new skeptical argument based on the physical possibility of Gödelian worlds (1949). This argument shows that a no-futurist has to endorse a metaphysical contingentist reading of no-futurism, the view that no-futurism is contingently true. But then, the no-futurist has to face (...)
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  40. No (New) Troubles with Ockhamism.Garrett Pendergraft & D. Justin Coates - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 5:185-208.
    The Ockhamist claims that our ability to do otherwise is not endangered by God’s foreknowledge because facts about God’s past beliefs regarding future contingents are soft facts about the past—i.e., temporally relational facts that depend in some sense on what happens in the future. But if our freedom, given God’s foreknowledge, requires altering some fact about the past that is clearly a hard fact, then Ockhamism fails even if facts about God’s past beliefs are soft. Recent opponents of Ockhamism, including (...)
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  41. Reflection, Conditionalization and Indeterminacy About the Future.Michael J. Shaffer - 2014 - The Reasoner 8:65-66.
    This paper shows that any view of future contingent claims that treats such claims as having indeterminate truth values or as simply being false implies probabilistic irrationality. This is because such views of the future imply violations of reflection, special reflection and conditionalization.
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  42. The Truth About the Future.Jacek Wawer - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S3):365-401.
    There is a long-standing disagreement among Branching-Time theorists. Even though they all believe that the branching representation accurately grasps the idea that the future, contrary to the past, is open, they argue whether this representation is compatible with the claim that one among many possible futures is distinguished—the single future that will come to be. This disagreement is paralleled in an argument about the bivalence of future contingents. The single, privileged future is often called the Thin Red Line. I reconstruct (...)
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  43. A New Theory of Free Will.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Philosophical Forum 44 (1):1-48.
    This paper shows that several live philosophical and scientific hypotheses – including the holographic principle and multiverse theory in quantum physics, and eternalism and mind-body dualism in philosophy – jointly imply an audacious new theory of free will. This new theory, "Libertarian Compatibilism", holds that the physical world is an eternally existing array of two-dimensional information – a vast number of possible pasts, presents, and futures – and the mind a nonphysical entity or set of properties that "read" that physical (...)
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  44. Branching and (in)Determinism.Jiri Benovsky - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (2):151-173.
    At a first glance, and even at a second one, it seems that if time is linear the threat of determinism is more severe than if time is branching, since in the latter case the future is open in a way it is not in the former one where, so to speak, there exists only one branch – one future. In this paper, I want to give a 'third glance' at this claim. I acknowledge that such a claim is intuitive (...)
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  45. The Metaphysics of the Thin Red Line.Andrea Borghini & Giuliano Torrengo - 2013 - In F. Correia & A. Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree. Semantical and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching and the Open Future. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 105-125.
    There seems to be a minimal core that every theory wishing to accommodate the intuition that the future is open must contain: a denial of physical determinism (i.e. the thesis that what future states the universe will be in is implied by what states it has been in), and a denial of strong fatalism (i.e. the thesis that, at every time, what will subsequently be the case is metaphysically necessary).1 Those two requirements are often associated with the idea of an (...)
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  46. Perils of the Open Road.William Lane Craig & David P. Hunt - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (1):49-71.
    Open theists deny that God knows future contingents. Most open theists justify this denial by adopting the position that there are no future contingent truths to be known. In this paper we examine some of the arguments put forward for this position in two recent articles in this journal, one by Dale Tuggy and one by Alan Rhoda, Gregory Boyd, and Thomas Belt. The arguments concern time, modality, and the semantics of ‘will’ statements. We explain why we find none of (...)
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  47. Scientific Practice and Necessary Connections.Andreas Hüttemann - 2013 - Theoria 79 (1):29-39.
    In this paper I will introduce a problem for at least those Humeans who believe that the future is open. More particularly, I will argue that the following aspect of scientific practice cannot be explained by openfuture- Humeanism: There is a distinction between states that we cannot bring about (which are represented in scientific models as nomologically impossible) and states that we merely happen not to bring about. Open-future-Humeanism has no convincing account of this distinction. Therefore it fails to explain (...)
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  48. Indeterminate Actuality and the Open Future.Roberto Loss - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):248-260.
    The aim of this article is to propose a novel supervaluationist theory of ‘actually’ in the open future. First, I will argue that any adequate theory of actuality in a branching setting must comply with three main desiderata. Second, I will prove that none of the actuality operators that have been proposed in the literature is up to the task. Finally, I will propose a novel theory of actuality in the open future combining one of the existing definitions of the (...)
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  49. The Truth About the Past and the Future.Ned Markosian - 2013 - In Fabrice Correia & Andrea Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching Time and the Open Future. Springer. pp. 127-141.
    This paper is about The Truthmaker Problem for Presentism. I spell out a solution to the problem that involves appealing to indeterministic laws of nature and branching semantics for past- and future-tensed sentences. Then I discuss a potential glitch for this solution, and propose a way to get around that glitch. Finally, I consider some likely objections to the view offered here, as well as replies to those objections.
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  50. The Real Truth About the Unreal Future.Rachael Briggs & Graeme A. Forbes - 2012 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 7.
    Growing-Block theorists hold that past and present things are real, while future things do not yet exist. This generates a puzzle: how can Growing-Block theorists explain the fact that some sentences about the future appear to be true? Briggs and Forbes develop a modal ersatzist framework, on which the concrete actual world is associated with a branching-time structure of ersatz possible worlds. They then show how this branching structure might be used to determine the truth values of future contingents. They (...)
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