, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 617-631

In Defence of Ockhamism

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Abstract

Ockhamism implies that future contingents may be true, their historical contingency notwithstanding. It is thus opposed to both the Peircean view according to which all future contingents are false, and Supervaluationist Indeterminism according to which all future contingents are neither true nor false. The paper seeks to defend Ockhamism against two charges: the charge that it cannot meet the requirement that truths be grounded in reality, and the charge that it proves incompatible with objective indeterminism about the future. In each case, the defence draws on the idea that certain truths are truths only courtesy of others and of what makes the latter true. After introduction of the Ockhamist view, its competitors and implications, a suitable definition of grounded truth is being devised that both is faithful to the spirit of the grounding-requirement and allows the Ockhamist to heed that requirement quite comfortably. Then two senses in which the future might be open are being introduced, indeterminacy as failure of predetermination by past and present facts, and indeterminacy as failure of entailment by past and present truths. It is argued that while openness in the former sense, but not in the latter sense, coheres with the Ockhamist view, it is only openness in the former sense that matters for objective indeterminism.