Future contingents, indeterminacy and context

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Abstract

In Facing the Future, Belnap et al. reject bivalence and propose double time reference semantics to give a pragmatic response to the following assertion problem: how can we make sense of assertions about future events made at a time when the outcomes of those events are not yet determined? John MacFarlane employs the same semantics, now bolstered with a relative-truth predicate, to accommodate the following apparently conflicting intuitions regarding the truth-value of an uttered future contingent: at the moment of utterance, if asked to evaluate the truth-value of the asserted future contingent one has the intuition that the assertion is neither true nor false, yet later, at the moment of the predicted event, one has the intuition that the assertion was, already, either true or false. Both MacFarlane and Belnap assume that assertions of future contingents have complete propositional content – the traditional propositional contents that, according to him ‘are the contents of assertions and beliefs’. This assumption is challenged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-422
Number of pages15
JournalPacific Philosophical Quarterly
Volume96
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

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Keywords

  • Future contingents
  • Indeterminacy
  • Assertion Problem

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