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The Open Future

Philosophy Compass 6 (5):360-373 (2011)

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  1. Human Foreknowledge.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    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.
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  • How is the Asymmetry Between the Open Future and the Fixed Past to Be Characterized?Vincent Grandjean - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-24.
    A basic intuition we have regarding the nature of time is that the future is open whereas the past is fixed. For example, whereas we think that there are things we can do to affect how the future will unfold, we think that there are not things we can do to affect how the past unfolded. However, although this intuition is largely shared, it is not a straightforward matter to determine the nature of the asymmetry it reflects. So, in this (...)
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  • Relativity, the Open Future, and the Passage of Time.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):321-363.
    Is the objective passage of time compatible with relativistic physics? There are two easy routes to an affirmative answer: (1) provide a deflationary analysis of passage compatible with the block universe, or (2) argue that a privileged global present is compatible with relativity. (1) does not take passage seriously. (2) does not take relativity seriously. This paper is concerned with the viability of views that seek to take both passage and relativity seriously. The investigation proceeds by considering how traditional A-theoretic (...)
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  • Knowledge of Future Contingents.Andrea Iacona - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    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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  • 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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  • The Machine Scenario: A Computational Perspective on Alternative Representations of Indeterminism.Vincent Grandjean & Matteo Pascucci - 2021 - Minds and Machines 31 (1):59-74.
    In philosophical logic and metaphysics there is a long-standing debate around the most appropriate structures to represent indeterministic scenarios concerning the future. We reconstruct here such a debate in a computational setting, focusing on the fundamental difference between moment-based and history-based structures. Our presentation is centered around two versions of an indeterministic scenario in which a programmer wants a machine to perform a given task at some point after a specified time. One of the two versions includes an assumption about (...)
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  • The Modal Future: A Theory of Future-Directed Thought and Talk.Fabrizio Cariani - 2021 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Provisional draft, pre-production copy of my book “The Modal Future” (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).
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  • The Actual Future is Open.Giuseppe Spolaore & Francesco Gallina - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):99-119.
    Open futurism is the indeterministic position according to which the future is ‘open’, i.e., there is now no fact of the matter as to what future contingent events will actually obtain. Many open futurists hold a branching conception of time, in which a variety of possible futures exist. This paper introduces two challenges to branching-time open futurism, which are similar in spirit to a challenge posed by Fine to tense realism. The paper argues that, to address the new challenges, open (...)
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  • The Phenomenology and Metaphysics of the Open Future.Derek Lam - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-27.
    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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  • Lewis and Taylor as Partners in Sin.James Van Cleve - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (2):165-175.
    David Lewis’s analysis of “can” in “The Paradoxes of Time Travel” has been widely accepted both as a definitive analysis of “can” and as a successful resolution of the Grandfather Paradox for time travel. I argue that the central feature of his analysis puts it on all fours with a fallacy frequently imputed to fatalists such as Richard Taylor. I go on to consider two moves that might be made to avoid the fallacy, arguing that one of them leads to (...)
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  • 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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  • Une asymétrie temporelle: passé fermé et futur ouvert.Vincent Grandjean - 2020 - Philosophie de la Connaissance.
    Nous partageons, au sujet de la nature du temps, l’intuition fondamentale selon laquelle le futur est ouvert tandis que le passé est fermé. Par exemple, alors que nous pensons pouvoir influencer le cours du futur, nous savons qu’aucune de nos actions ne peut influencer le cours du passé. Cependant, bien que cette intuition soit largement partagée, identifier la nature de l’asymétrie qu’elle reflète n’est pas chose aisée. Dans cet article, j’explore différentes manières de caractériser l’asymétrie entre le ‘futur ouvert’ et (...)
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  • 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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  • Backwards Causation and the Chancy Past.John Cusbert - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):1-33.
    I argue that the past can be objectively chancy in cases of backwards causation, and defend a view of chance that allows for this. Using a case, I argue against the popular temporal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to times, and all chancy events must lie in the future. I then state and defend the causal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to causal histories, and all chancy events must lie causally (...)
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  • Fatalism as a Metaphysical Thesis.Meyer Ulrich - forthcoming - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 39 (4).
    Even though fatalism has been an intermittent topic of philosophy since Greek antiquity, this paper argues that fate ought to be of little concern to metaphysicians. Fatalism is neither an interesting metaphysical thesis in its own right, nor can it be identified with theses that are, such as realism about the future or determinism.
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  • Fatalism as a Metaphysical Thesis.Ulrich Meyer - 2016 - Manuscrito 39 (4):203-223.
    ABSTRACT Even though fatalism has been an intermittent topic of philosophy since Greek antiquity, this paper argues that fate ought to be of little concern to metaphysicians. Fatalism is neither an interesting metaphysical thesis in its own right, nor can it be identified with theses that are, such as realism about the future or determinism.
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  • The Open Future, Bivalence and Assertion.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):251-271.
    It is highly now intuitive that the future is open and the past is closed now—whereas it is unsettled whether there will be a fourth world war, it is settled that there was a first. Recently, it has become increasingly popular to claim that the intuitive openness of the future implies that contingent statements about the future, such as ‘There will be a sea battle tomorrow,’ are non-bivalent (neither true nor false). In this paper, we argue that the non-bivalence of (...)
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  • 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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  • Time.Ned Markosian - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Discussions of the nature of time, and of various issues related to time, have always featured prominently in philosophy, but they have been especially important since the beginning of the 20th Century. This article contains a brief overview of some of the main topics in the philosophy of time — Fatalism; Reductionism and Platonism with respect to time; the topology of time; McTaggart's arguments; The A Theory and The B Theory; Presentism, Eternalism, and The Growing Universe Theory; time travel; and (...)
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