The Truth of Future Contingents: An Analysis of Truth-Maker Indeterminacy

Filosofiska Notiser 7 (1):53-77 (2020)

Tero Tulenheimo
Université Charles-de-Gaulle - Lille 3
I argue that the semantics of sentences expressing future contingent propositions is best viewed as being based on a clear distinction between a time at which a proposition is true and a time at which a state of affairs that makes it true gets actualized. That a prediction is true here and now means that its truth-maker gets actualized later. This is not to say that if a contingent proposition p concerning the future is true at t, it acquires the truth-value true at t only retrospectively, at a later moment. Nor must this be seen as suggesting that it is a settled, unpreventable fact at t that p is true at t. It just means that the reason for its present truth is something that happens later on: the future happens to evolve in such a way as to make a truth-maker of p obtain. In this case, then, it can be said that at t, p is truth-maker indeterminate, or that it has an indeterminate truth-maker. I develop a formal semantics based on this analysis in the follow-up article ‘A Formal Framework for Future Contingents’. Here, I lay down the conceptual framework and indicate Boethius and Abelard as precursors of the view I wish to defend.
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