, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 441–469

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

Open Access

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9846-8

Cite this article as:
Placek, T. & Belnap, N. Synthese (2012) 187: 441. doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9846-8


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.


Indeterminism/determinism Spacetimes Branching space-times Tenses 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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