Open Access
Article

Synthese

, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 441-469

Indeterminism is a modal notion: branching spacetimes and Earman’s pruning

Authors

  • Tomasz Placek
    • Jagiellonian University
  • Nuel Belnap
    • Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Pittsburgh

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9846-8

Abstract

The paper defends an Aristotelian notion of indeterminism, as rigorously formulated in the framework of branching space-times (BST) of Belnap (1992), against criticism by Earman’s (2008) based on a model-theoretic characterization of indeterminism. It delineates BST branching against the background provided by Earman’s (2008) distinction between individual versus ensemble branching. Partly in order to motivate our responses to Earman, it describes a construction of physically motivated BST models, in which histories are isomorphic to Minkowski spacetime. Finally it responds to Earman’s criticisms leveled against BST by addressing a topological issue, the question of an actual future, the past/future asymmetry, and some semantical questions.

Keywords

Indeterminism/determinism Spacetimes Branching space-times Tenses

Acknowledgments

We are indebted to Bryan Roberts and Balázs Gyenis for timely readings of our manuscript and for their comments and corrections. We would also like to thank one referee of this journal for their substantive and detailed comments. TP gratefully acknowledges the support of the Jagiellonian University WRBW2010 grant and of the MNiSW research grant K/PMN/000034.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution,and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010