About this topic
Summary The open future category deals with issues pertaining to the fixity of the future. Are propositions about the future true now? Or do such propositions lack a truth-value? These questions connect up to important debates surrounding free-will and deliberation. The open future resides within the temporal ontology category as it has been argued that the openness of the future hangs on the existence of the future. Accordingly, positions such as presentism and the growing block theory are touted as better according with the openness of the future because of their (comparatively) thrifty ontologies.
Key works

Anscombe 1956 contains an early contemporary examination of Aristotle’s problem of future contingents, while MacFarlane 2003 offers a recent and influential solution to the problem based on a context of assessment. Dummett 1964 focuses on an argument concerning the asymmetry between past and future, and contains an argument against fatalism. Belnap 1992 argues for a blend of relativity and indeterminism, and Belnap & Green 1994 argue for an open future as rooted in a branching structure of time without a distinguished ‘actual’ future branch. Barnes & Cameron 2008 aim to show that the open future is compatible with determinism about the laws of nature as well as an unrestricted principle of bivalence. Besson & Hattiangadi 2014 argue that intuition supports the bivalence of future contingents, Todd 2021 argues that future contingents are false, and Briggs & Forbes 2012 argue that future contingents can have truth values. Additionally, Miller 2005 argues that the open future is compatible with time travel. 

Introductions See the collected papers in Correia & Iacona 2013. See also Øhrstrøm & Hasle 2011.
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314 found
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1 — 50 / 314
  1. Assessment Sensitivity about Future Contingents, Vindication and Self-Refutation.Corine Besson & Anandi Hattiangadi - manuscript
    John MacFarlane has recently argued that his brand of truth relativism – Assessment Sensitivity – provides the best solution to the puzzle of future contingents: statements about the future that are metaphysically neither necessary nor impossible. In this paper, we show that even if we grant all of the metaphysical, semantic and pragmatic assumptions in terms of which MacFarlane sets and solves the puzzle, Assessment Sensitivity is ultimately self-refuting.
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  2. Evaluating future-tensed sentences in changing contexts.Andrea Bonomi & Fabio Del Prete - manuscript
    According to the actualist view, what is essential to the truth conditions of a future-tensed sentence ‘it will be the case that ϕ’ is reference to the unique course of events that will become actual. On the other hand, the modal view has it that the truth conditions of such a sentence require that the truth of ϕ be already “settled” at the time of utterance, where “being settled at time t” is defined by universal quantification over a domain of (...)
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  3. Modeling future indeterminacy in possibility semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    Possibility semantics offers an elegant framework for a semantic analysis of modal logic that does not recruit fully determinate entities such as possible worlds. The present papers considers the application of possibility semantics to the modeling of the indeterminacy of the future. Interesting theoretical problems arise in connection to the addition of object-language determinacy operator. We argue that adding a two-dimensional layer to possibility semantics can help solve these problems. The resulting system assigns to the two-dimensional determinacy operator a well-known (...)
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  4. The Modal Future Hypothesis Debugged.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    This note identifies and corrects some problems in developments of the thesis that predictive expressions, such as English "will", are modals. I contribute a new argument supporting Cariani and Santorio's recent claim that predictive expressions are non-quantificational modals. At the same time, I improve on their selectional semantics by fixing an important bug. Finally, I show that there are benefits to be reaped by integrating the selection semantics framework with standard ideas about the future orientation of modals.
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  5. Hypertemporal Humeanism and the Open Future.Benjamin Smart - manuscript
    Take strong open-future Humeanism (OFH) to comprise the following three tenets: (i) that truth supervenes on being (ii) that there is a dynamic present moment, and (iii) that there are no future facts; that is, contingent propositions about the future obtain truth values only when their referents are actualised (Tooley 1997). On the face of it this is a deeply problematic metaphysic - if there are no future facts then prima facie the Humean can neither provide laws of nature, nor (...)
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  6. How to Russell Open the Future.Patrick Todd - manuscript
    Short abstract: this is a reply to Schoubye and Rabern's 2017 paper, in Mind, to my own 2016 paper, also in Mind, "Future Contingents are All False! On Behalf of a Russellian Open Future." -/- Long abstract: There is a familiar philosophical position – sometimes called the doctrine of the open future ­– according to which future contingents (claims about underdetermined aspects of the future) systematically fail to be true. For well over 2000 years, however, open futurists have been accused (...)
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  7. Aristotelian indeterminacy and partial belief: Including case studies of the open future and vague survival.Robert Williams - manuscript
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  8. Probability and the Open Future.Sam Baron - forthcoming - Analysis.
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  9. On Explaining Temporally Asymmetric Experiences.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    Ismael aims for an understanding of the nature of an embedded perspective of agents in a world. If successful, this would explain a cluster of ways in which from an embedded perspective, we experience the world in an array of temporally asymmetric ways. Moreover, these are ways that have led many philosophers to rather metaphysically inflationary views about the nature of time, according to which time itself really is dynamical, and is characterized by the movement of an objectively (i.e., non-perspectival) (...)
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  10. Our Naïve Representation of Time and of the Open Future.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    It’s generally thought that we naively or pre-theoretically represent the future to be open. While philosophers have modelled future openness in different ways, it’s unclear which, if any, captures our naïve sense that the future is open. In this paper we focus on just one way the future might count as being open: by being nomically open, and empirically investigate whether our naïve representation of the future as open is partly constituted by representing the future as nomically open. We also (...)
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  11. The Moving Open Future, Temporal Phenomenology, and Temporal Passage.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Asian Journal of Philosophy.
    Empirical evidence suggests that people naïvely represent time as dynamical (i.e. as containing robust temporal passage). Yet many contemporary B-theorists deny that it seems to us, in perceptual experience, as though time robustly passes. The question then arises as to why we represent time as dynamical if we do not have perceptual experiences which represent time as dynamical. We consider two hypotheses about why this might be: the temporally asperspectival replacement hypothesis and the moving open future hypothesis. We then empirically (...)
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  12. Review of Patrick Todd, The Open Future. Why Future Contingents are All False. [REVIEW]David P. Hunt - forthcoming - Zeitschrift Für Theologie Und Philosophie.
  13. Another Model of the Open Future.Daniel Rubio - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
    In his work on the open future, Patrick Todd outlines three models of how to deal with future contingents. These models must answer two questions: one metaphysical, about what facts there are in the world; one semantic, about how to deal with sentences involving ‘will.’ Model 1 has a privileged timeline. Model 2 has an actual future timeline but leaves it indeterminate which timeline that is. Model 3 has no future timeline. All three give will-sentences a modal treatement, as a (...)
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  14. Defending The Open Future: Replies to MacFarlane, Green, Wasserman, and Bigg & Miller.Patrick Todd - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    These are my materials (a short precis, and replies to John MacFarlane, Mitchell Green, Ryan Wasserman, and Anthony Bigg and Kristie Miller) for a symposium on my book, _The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False_ (OUP, 2021) in *Analytic Philosophy*. [The contribution from MacFarlane is available on his website, those from Wasserman and Green are on their Academia profiles, and the contribution from Bigg and Miller is on Miller's PhilPapers profile.].
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  15. On The Open Future: Replies to Rhoda and Rubio.Patrick Todd - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
    These are my materials (a short precis, and replies to Alan Rhoda and Daniel Rubio) for an invited symposium on my book _The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False_ (OUP, 2021) in IJPR. [The commentaries from Rhoda/Rubio are available on their respective PhilPapers profiles.].
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  16. Knowledge of the Future and Reliable Belief-Forming Processes.Stephan Torre - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper embraces the view that we have substantial knowledge of the future and investigates how such knowledge fundamentally differs from knowledge of the past and present. I argue for a new source of context-sensitivity with respect to knowledge attributions arising from presuppositions about reliable belief-forming processes. This context sensitivity has important consequences for knowledge of the future, as well as the appropriateness of assertions about the future. I argue that not only is knowledge of future events typically brought about (...)
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  17. On the idea that all future tensed contingents are false.Anthony Bigg & Kristie Miller - 2024 - Analytic Philosophy 1.
    In “The Open Future” (2021) Patrick Todd argues that the future is open, and that as a consequence all future contingents are false (as opposed to the more common view that they are neither true nor false). Very roughly, this latter claim is motivated by the idea that (a) presentism is true, and so future (and indeed past) things do not exist and (b) if future things do not exist, then the only thing that could ground there being future tensed (...)
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  18. Probabilism: An Open Future Solution to the Actualism/Possibilism Debate.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2024 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 10 (2):349-370.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics is traditionally formulated in terms of whether true counterfactuals of freedom about the future (true subjunctive conditionals concerning what someone would freely do in the future if they were in certain circumstances) even partly determine an agent's present moral obligations. But the very assumption that there are true counterfactuals of freedom about the future conflicts with the idea that freedom requires a metaphysically open future. We develop probabilism as a solution to the actualism/possibilism debate, a (...)
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  19. Future contingency, future indeterminacy, and grounding: comments on Todd: Book symposium: Patrick Todd, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 224 pp. $80.00. [REVIEW]Alan R. Rhoda - 2024 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 95 (1):103-109.
    Invited discussion paper on Patrick Todd's book, _The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False_ (Oxford, 2021).
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  20. Book Symposium: Patrick Todd, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 224 pp. $80.00. [REVIEW]Patrick Todd - 2024 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 95 (2):205-207.
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  21. Book symposium: Patrick Todd, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 224 pp. $80.00. [REVIEW]Patrick Todd - 2024 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 95 (2):225-231.
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  22. Critical Notice: The Modal Future: A Theory of Future-Directed Thought and Talk.Patrick Todd - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):1026-1035.
    At least since Aristotle's famous discussion of the sea-battle tomorrow in On Interpretation 9, philosophers have been fascinated by a rich set of interconnecte.
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  23. Critical Notice: The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False, by Patrick Todd. [REVIEW]Stephan Torre - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):1036-1043.
    Patrick Todd's The Open Future defends the view that all future contingent statements, like ‘It will rain tomorrow’, are false.1 Not only is ‘It will rain tomor.
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  24. The Modal Future, by Fabrizio Cariani. [REVIEW]David Boylan - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (2).
  25. Freedom and the open future.Yishai Cohen - 2023 - Analytic Philosophy 64 (3):228-255.
    I draw upon Helen Steward's concept of agential settling to argue that freedom requires an ability to change the truth‐value of tenseless future contingents over time from false to true and that this ability requires a metaphysically open future.
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  26. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False, by Patrick Todd. [REVIEW]Aldo Frigerio - 2023 - Manuscrito 46 (1):220-230.
    Review of Patrick Todd's book, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False, Oxford University Press, 2021.
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  27. Le futur ouvert.Vincent Grandjean - 2023 - Paris: Éditions Hermann.
    Ce livre propose une étude détaillée et une défense systématique d’une intuition-clé que nous partageons tous à propos de la nature du temps : celle que le futur est ouvert, tandis que le passé est fixé. Si l’occurrence d’une Troisième Guerre mondiale semble indéterminée, il y a bel et bien eu une Première Guerre mondiale. -/- Dans le présent ouvrage, l’auteur fournit une élucidation cohérente, non métaphorique et métaphysiquement éclairante de l’intuition ; il détermine quel modèle de structure temporelle du (...)
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  28. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False, by Patrick Todd. [REVIEW]David Ingram - 2023 - Metaphilosophy 54 (2-3):364-367.
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  29. Bahala Na: Fatalism or an Open Future?Jeremiah Joven Joaquin - 2023 - In Soraj Hongladarom, Jeremiah Joven Joaquin & Frank J. Hoffman (eds.), Philosophies of Appropriated Religions: Perspectives from Southeast Asia. Springer Nature Singapore. pp. 81-91.
    This paper discusses two conceptions of the Filipino expression bahala na. The first implies a fatalistic attitude, while the second implies an open-minded attitude toward an uncertain future. We explore how these two conceptions may be used to frame and address the familiar philosophical puzzle about the compatibility of divine omniscience and human free will.
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  30. Why do people represent time as dynamical? An investigation of temporal dynamism and the open future.Andrew J. Latham & Kristie Miller - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (5):1717-1742.
    Deflationists hold that it does not seem to us, in experience, as though time robustly passes. There is some recent empirical evidence that appears to support this contention. Equally, empirical evidence suggests that we naïvely represent time as dynamical. Thus deflationists are faced with an explanatory burden. If, as they maintain, the world seems to us in experience as though it is non-dynamical, then why do we represent time as dynamical? This paper takes up the challenge of investigating, on the (...)
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  31. Relativism and Two Kinds of Branching Time.Dilip Ninan - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (2):465-492.
    This essay examines the case for relativism about future contingents in light of a distinction between two ways of interpreting the ‘branching time’ framework. Focussing on MacFarlane (2014), we break the argument for relativism down into two steps. The first step is an argument for something MacFarlane calls the "Non-Determination Thesis", which is essentially the view that there is no unique actual future. The second step is an argument from the Non-Determination Thesis to relativism. I first argue that first step (...)
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  32. Patrick Todd. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are All False. [REVIEW]Alan R. Rhoda - 2023 - Journal of Analytic Theology 11:738-742.
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  33. Practical grounds for freedom: Kant and James on freedom, experience and an open future.Joe Saunders & Neil W. Williams - 2023 - In Freedom After Kant: From German Idealism to Ethics and the Self. Blackwell's. pp. 155-171.
    In this chapter, we compare Kant and James’ accounts of freedom. Despite both thinkers’ rejecting compatibilism for the sake of practical reason, there are two striking differences in their stances. The first concerns whether or not freedom requires the possibility of an open future. James holds that morality hinges on the real possibility that the future can be affected by our actions. Kant, on the other hand, seems to maintain that we can still be free in the crucial sense, even (...)
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  34. Freedom, foreknowledge, and betting.Amy Seymour - 2023 - Philosophical Issues 33 (1):223-236.
    Certain kinds of prediction, foreknowledge, and future‐oriented action appear to require settled future truths. But open futurists think that the future is metaphysically unsettled: if it is open whether p is true, then it cannot currently be settled that p is true. So, open futurists—and libertarians who adopt the position—face the objection that their view makes rational action and deliberation impossible. I defuse the epistemic concern: open futurism does not entail obviously counterintuitive epistemic consequences or prevent rational action.
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  35. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False, by Patrick Todd. [REVIEW]Donald Wayne Viney - 2023 - Process Studies 52 (2):285-291.
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  36. Branching time and doomsday.Giacomo Andreoletti - 2022 - Ratio 35 (2):79-90.
    Branching time is a popular theory of time that is intended to account for the openness of the future. Generally, branching-time models the openness of the future by positing a multiplicity of concrete alternative futures mirroring all the possible ways the future could unfold. A distinction is drawn in the literature among branching-time theories: those that make use of moment-based structures and those that employ history-based ones. In this paper, I introduce and discuss a particular kind of openness relative to (...)
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  37. The Asymmetric Nature of Time.Vincent Grandjean - 2022 - Springer Nature.
    This open access monograph offers a detailed study and a systematic defense of a key intuition we typically have, as human beings, with respect to the nature of time: the intuition that the future is open, whereas the past is fixed. For example, whereas it seems unsettled whether there will be a fourth world war, it is settled that there was a first world war. -/- The book contributes, in particular, three major and original insights. First, it provides a coherent, (...)
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  38. Alethic Openness and the Growing Block Theory of Time.Batoul Hodroj, Andrew J. Latham, Jordan Lee-Tory & Kristie Miller - 2022 - The Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):532-556.
    Whatever its ultimate philosophical merits, it is often thought that the growing block theory presents an intuitive picture of reality that accords well with our pre-reflective or folk view of time, and of the past, present, and future. This is partly motivated by the idea that we find it intuitive that, in some sense, the future is open and the past closed, and that the growing block theory is particularly well suited to accommodate this being so. In this paper, we (...)
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  39. The Metaphysics of Ockhamism.Andrea Iacona - 2022 - In Alessio Santelli (ed.), Ockhamism and Philosophy of Time: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues concerning Future Contingents. Springer.
    This paper investigates Ockhamism from a metaphysical point of view. Its main point is that the claim that future contingents are true or false is less demanding than usually expected, as it does not require particularly contentious assumptions about the future. First it will be argued that Ockhamism is consistent with a wide range of metaphysical views. Then it will be shown that each of these views leaves room for the claim that the future is open, at least on some (...)
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  40. Knowledge of Future Contingents.Andrea Iacona - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):447-467.
    This paper addresses the question whether future contingents are knowable, that is, whether one can know that things will go a certain way even though it is possible that things will not go that way. First I will consider a long-established view that implies a negative answer, and draw attention to some endemic problems that affect its credibility. Then I will sketch an alternative line of thought that prompts a positive answer: future contingents are knowable, although our epistemic access of (...)
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  41. Fragmenting Reality: An Essay on Passage, Causality and Time Travel.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuliano Torrengo - 2022 - London: Bloomsbury.
    The growing interest in fragmentalism is one of the most exciting trends in philosophy of time and is gradually reshaping the contemporary debate. Providing an extensive interpretation of this view, Samuele Iaquinto and Giuliano Torrengo articulate a novel theory of the passage of time and argue that it is the most effective in vindicating the inherent dynamism of reality. Iaquinto and Torrengo offer the first full-range application of fragmentalism to a number of metaphysical topics, including the open future, causation, the (...)
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  42. Probing the Mind of God: Divine Beliefs and Credences.Elizabeth Jackson & Justin Mooney - 2022 - Religious Studies 58 (1):S61–S75.
    Although much has been written about divine knowledge, and some on divine beliefs, virtually nothing has been written about divine credences. In this essay we comparatively assess four views on divine credences: (1) God has only beliefs, not credences; (2) God has both beliefs and credences; (3) God has only credences, not beliefs; and (4) God has neither credences nor beliefs, only knowledge. We weigh the costs and benefits of these four views and draw connections to current discussions in philosophical (...)
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  43. The future ain’t what it used to be: Strengthening the case for mutable futurism.Giacomo Andreoletti & Giuseppe Spolaore - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10569-10585.
    This paper explores mutable futurism, the view according to which the future can literally change—that is, it can happen that a future time t changes from containing an event E to lacking it. Mutable futurism has received little attention so far, and the details and implications of the view are underexplored in the literature. For instance, it currently lacks a precise metaphysical model and a formal semantics. Although we do not endorse mutable futurism, our goal here is to strengthen the (...)
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  44. Does Success Entail Ability?David Boylan - 2021 - Noûs 56 (3):570-601.
    This paper is about the principle that success entails ability, which I call Success. I argue the status of Success is highly puzzling: when we focus on past instances of actually successful action, Success is very compelling; but it is in tension with the idea that true ability claims require an action be in the agent's control. I make the above tension precise by considering the logic of ability. I argue Success is appealing because it is classically equivalent to two (...)
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  45. Human Foreknowledge.Fabrizio Cariani - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):50-69.
    I explore the motivation and logical consequences of the idea that we have some (limited) ability to know contingent facts about the future, even in presence of the assumption that the future is objectively unsettled or indeterminate. I start by formally characterizing skepticism about the future. This analysis nudges the anti-skeptic towards the idea that if some propositions about the future are objectively indeterminate, then it may be indeterminate whether a suitably positioned agent knows them. -/- Philosophical Perspectives, Volume 35, (...)
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  46. Vacillating time: a metaphysics for time travel and Geachianism.Nikk Effingham - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7159-7180.
    ‘Past vacillators’ believe that what was once the case may change over time. This has obvious applications to the possibility of changing the past via time travel. ‘Future vacillators’ believe that some things will happen and yet, later, will not. Further to issues in time travel, future vacillation has applications when it comes to ‘Geachian’ views about the open future. This paper argues that if you deny that the ‘earlier than’ and ‘later than’ relations are converses of one another then (...)
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  47. How is the asymmetry between the open future and the fixed past to be characterized?Vincent Grandjean - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):1863-1886.
    A basic intuition we have regarding the nature of time is that the future is open whereas the past is fixed. For example, whereas we think that there are things we can do to affect how the future will unfold (e.g. acting in an environmentally responsible manner), we think that there are not things we can do to affect how the past unfolded (“what is done is done”). However, although this intuition is largely shared, it is not a straightforward matter (...)
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  48. Symmetric and asymmetric theories of time.Vincent Grandjean - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14403-14426.
    There is a feeling of dissatisfaction with the traditional way of defining the A-theories of time. One reason is that these definitions rest on an ontological question—‘Do the future and the past exist?’—to which no non-speculative answer can be provided. Another reason is that these definitions fail to distinguish between various A-theories of time at all times and, therefore, cannot be regarded as essential to them. In the present paper, I make a fresh start in the debate, by introducing two (...)
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  49. The phenomenology and metaphysics of the open future.Derek Lam - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3895-3921.
    Intuitively, the future is open and the past fixed: there is something we can do about the future but not the past. Some metaphysicians believe that a proper metaphysics of time must vindicate this intuition. Whereas philosophers have focused on the future and the past, the status of the present remains relatively unexplored. Drawing on resources from action theory, I argue that there is something we can do about the present just like there is something we can do about the (...)
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  50. Open future, supervaluationism and the growing-block theory: a stage-theoretical account.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14249-14266.
    I present a ‘stage-theoretical’ interpretation of the supervaluationist semantics for the growing-block theory of time according to which the ‘nodes’ on the branching tree of historical possibilities are taken to be possible stages of the growth of the growing-block. As I will argue, the resulting interpretation (i) is very intuitive, (ii) can easily ward off an objection to supervaluationist treatments of the growing-block theory presented by Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz, and (iii) is also not saddled by the problems affecting (...)
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