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Determinism, the Open Future and Branching Time

  • Sven Rosenkranz
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 361)

Abstract

In this chapter, I argue that on a natural understanding of both views, indeterminism and branching time are incompatible, contrary to what recent literature on the open future suggests. In the first section, I introduce two notions of truth-determination that importantly differ from the notion of truth-making. In the second section, I use these notions to devise a definition of determinism that captures the central idea that, given the past and present, the future cannot but be a certain way. Indeterminism is then defined in opposition to determinism in the third section. In the fourth section, I argue that the tree-like representation of future possibilities is not suggestive of branching time and that indeterminism is perfectly consistent with assumption of a Thin Red Line, that is, a unique way things will turn out to be, a claim shown to be unthreatened by considerations concerning human freedom. In the fifth section, I argue that taking branching time seriously implies commitment to determinism. In the sixth section, I consider a recent attempt to capture the open future and show that it is naturally seen to draw on a conception of the determinately true as what is determined to be true in the second of the senses introduced in the first section. In the seventh section, I argue that the authors’ suggestion that determinism is nonetheless consistent with admission of a multitude of future possibilities is at best unmotivated and at worst misguided. Section eight summarises the results.

Keywords

Actual World Open Future Counterfactual Dependence Future Contingent Assertoric Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICREAUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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