, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 117–142

A future for the thin red line

Open Access

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-012-0064-4

Cite this article as:
Malpass, A. & Wawer, J. Synthese (2012) 188: 117. doi:10.1007/s11229-012-0064-4


The thin red line (TRL) is a theory about the semantics of future-contingents. The central idea is that there is such a thing as the ‘actual future’, even in the presence of indeterminism. It is inspired by a famous solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge associated with William of Ockham, in which the freedom of agents is argued to be compatible with God’s omniscience. In the modern branching time setting, the theory of the TRL is widely regarded to suffer from several fundamental problems. In this paper we propose several new TRL semantics, each with differing degrees of success. This leads up to our final semantics, which is a cross between the TRL and supervaluationism. We discuss the notions of truth, validity and semantic consequence which result from our final semantics, and demonstrate some of its pleasing results. This account, we believe, answers the main objection in the literature, and thus places the TRL on the same level as any other competing semantics for future contingents.


Future contingents Branching-time Ockhamism Thin red line Supervaluationism 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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