The theory of branching space-times, put forward by Belnap (Synthese 92, 1992), considers indeterminism as local in space and time. In the axiomatic foundations of that theory, so-called choice points mark the points at which the (local) possible future can turn out in different ways. Working under the assumption of choice points is suitable for many applications, but has an unwelcome topological consequence that makes it difficult to employ branching space-times to represent a range of possible physical space-times. Therefore it is interesting to develop a branching space-times theory without choice points. This is what we set out to do in this paper, providing new foundations for branching space-times in terms of choice sets rather than choice points. After motivating and developing the resulting theory in formal detail, we show that it is possible to translate structures of one style into structures of the other style and vice versa. This result shows that the underlying idea of indeterminism as the branching of spatio-temporal histories is robust with respect to different implementations, making a choice between them a matter of expediency rather than of principle.
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T. M. acknowledges support by the German National Science Foundation (DFG), Grant Nr. MU1816/7-1. T. P. acknowledges support by the (Polish) National Science Center, Grant Nr. 2016/22/M/HS1/00160. We thank Joanna Luc for detailed and helpful comments on a previous draft.
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Belnap, N., Müller, T. & Placek, T. New Foundations for Branching Space-Times. Stud Logica 109, 239–284 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11225-020-09905-2
- Branching histories
- Choice points
- Local Euclidicity
- Hausdorff property