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The Open Future

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

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  1. Modeling future indeterminacy in possibility semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    Possibility semantics offers an elegant framework for a semantic analysis of modal logic that does not recruit fully determinate entities such as possible worlds. The present papers considers the application of possibility semantics to the modeling of the indeterminacy of the future. Interesting theoretical problems arise in connection to the addition of object-language determinacy operator. We argue that adding a two-dimensional layer to possibility semantics can help solve these problems. The resulting system assigns to the two-dimensional determinacy operator a well-known (...)
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  • Branching with a Humean Face.Leszek Wroński - 2023 - Metaphysica 24 (2):359-380.
    This paper investigates the prospects of developing a branching modal framework while keeping with the spirit of Humean Supervenience. It is argued that such an approach is bound to face hard problems regarding haecceitism and the notion of recombination. Possible directions for future philosophical developments of branching frameworks are suggested.
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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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  • Wondering about the future.Stephan Torre - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (8):2449-2473.
    Will it rain tomorrow? Will there be a sea battle tomorrow? Will my death be painful? Wondering about the future plays a central role in our cognitive lives. It is integral to our inquiries, our planning, our hopes, and our fears. The aim of this paper is to consider various accounts of future contingents and the implications that they have for wondering about the future. I argue that reflecting on the nature of wondering about the future supports an Ockhamist account (...)
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  • The Growing Block, the Open Future and Future Truths.Stephan Torre - 2021 - Disputatio 13 (63):423-432.
    In Nothing to Come, Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz provide a sophisticated, compelling, and thoroughly defended account of the growing block theory. This note critically evaluates two aspects of this account. First, it evaluates Correia and Rosenkranz’s attempt at providing a grounding principle for future truths and argues that this principle fails to make progress in explaining why future truths are true. Second, it evaluates Correia and Rosenkranz’s construal of the open future arguing that the asymmetry in openness with respect (...)
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  • The Invisible Thin Red Line.Giuliano Torrengo & Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101:354-382.
    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Relativism and Two Kinds of Branching Time.Dilip Ninan - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (2):465-492.
    This essay examines the case for relativism about future contingents in light of a distinction between two ways of interpreting the ‘branching time’ framework. Focussing on MacFarlane (2014), we break the argument for relativism down into two steps. The first step is an argument for something MacFarlane calls the "Non-Determination Thesis", which is essentially the view that there is no unique actual future. The second step is an argument from the Non-Determination Thesis to relativism. I first argue that first step (...)
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  • Why do people represent time as dynamical? An investigation of temporal dynamism and the open future.Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (5):1717-1742.
    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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  • 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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  • Knowledge of Future Contingents.Andrea Iacona - 2022 - 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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  • Alethic Openness and the Growing Block Theory of Time.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham, Jordan Lee-Tory & Kristie Miller - 2022 - The Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):532-556.
    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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  • The Machine Scenario: A Computational Perspective on Alternative Representations of Indeterminism.Vincent Grandjean & Matteo Pascucci - 2020 - 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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  • 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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  • How is the asymmetry between the open future and the fixed past to be characterized?Vincent Grandjean - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):1863-1886.
    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 (e.g. acting in an environmentally responsible manner), we think that there are not things we can do to affect how the past unfolded (“what is done is done”). However, although this intuition is largely shared, it is not a straightforward matter (...)
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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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  • Replies to Critics.Fabrice Correia & Sven Rosenkranz - 2021 - Disputatio 13 (63):445-494.
    In what follows, we will reply to the critical comments one by one in the order that seemed most natural to us, given the topics covered. Apart from the references section towards the end, our replies are conceived as pieces each of which can be read independently from any of the others (but not, of course, independently from the comments it responds to). We hope to have done justice to the critical points made by our commentators and to have come (...)
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  • 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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  • Center Indifference and Skepticism.David Builes - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Many philosophers have been attracted to a restricted version of the principle of indifference in the case of self-locating belief. Roughly speaking, this principle states that, within any given possible world, one should be indifferent between different hypotheses concerning who one is within that possible world, so long as those hypotheses are compatible with one’s evidence. My first goal is to defend a more precise version of this principle. After responding to several existing criticisms of such a principle, I argue (...)
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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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  • Can truth relativism account for the indeterminacy of future contingents?Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-23.
    John MacFarlane has recently argued that his brand of truth relativism provides the best solution to the puzzle of future contingents: assertions about the future that express propositions 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 aims to solve the puzzle, his truth relativism is not apt to solve the problem of future contingents. We argue that (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Fatalism as a Metaphysical Thesis.Meyer Ulrich - 2016 - 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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