The future, and what might have been

Philosophical Studies 176 (2):505-532 (2019)

Abstract

We show that five important elements of the ‘nomological package’— laws, counterfactuals, chances, dispositions, and counterfactuals—needn’t be a problem for the Growing-Block view. We begin with the framework given in Briggs and Forbes (in The real truth about the unreal future. Oxford studies in metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012 ), and, taking laws as primitive, we show that the Growing-Block view has the resources to provide an account of possibility, and a natural semantics for non-backtracking causal counterfactuals. We show how objective chances might ground a more fine-grained concept of feasibility, and furnished a places in the structure where causation and dispositions might fit. The Growing-Block view, thus understood, provides the resources to explain the close link between modality and tense, so that it predicts modal change as time passes. This account lets us capture not only what the future might hold for us, and also what might have been.

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Author Profiles

Graeme A. Forbes
University of Kent
R. A. Briggs
Stanford University

Citations of this work

Symmetric and Asymmetric Theories of Time.Vincent Grandjean - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14403-14426.

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