Branching in the landscape of possibilities

Synthese 188 (1):41-65 (2012)
Abstract
The metaphor of a branching tree of future possibilities has a number of important philosophical and logical uses. In this paper we trace this metaphor through some of its uses and argue that the metaphor works the same way in physics as in philosophy. We then give an overview of formal systems for branching possibilities, viz., branching time and (briefly) branching space-times. In a next step we describe a number of different notions of possibility, thereby sketching a landscape of possibilities. In the final section of the paper we look at the place of branching-based possibilities in that larger landscape of possibilities. Our main message is that far from being an outlandish metaphysical extravagancy, branching-based possibilities are epistemically as well as metaphysically basic.
Keywords Branching time  Branching space-times  Modality  Possibility  Experiment
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-0059-6
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References found in this work BETA
Modal Logic.Patrick Blackburn, Maarten de Rijke & Yde Venema - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Modality and Tense.Kit Fine - 2005 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Defining Determinism.Thomas Müller & Tomasz Placek - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv049.

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