, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 85–116

On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-0046-y

Cite this article as:
Farr, M. Synthese (2012) 188: 85. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-0046-y


This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space–time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the flow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justification.


Branching time A series B series C series Branch attrition Supertime BST Indeterminism Direction of time Open future 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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