The Open Future, Bivalence and Assertion
Besson (Corine) & Hattiangadi (Anandi)
Source: Philosophical Studies, January 2014, Volume 167, Issue 2, pp 251–271
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. It is highly intuitive that the future is open and the past is closed — whereas it is unsettled whether there will be a fourth world war, it is settled that there was a first.
  2. Recently, it has become increasingly popular to claim that the intuitive openness of the future implies that contingent statements about the future, such as ‘there will be a sea battle tomorrow,’ are non-bivalent (neither true nor false).
  3. In this paper, we argue that the non-bivalence of future contingents is at odds with our pre-theoretic intuitions about the openness of the future. These are revealed by our pragmatic judgments concerning the correctness and incorrectness of assertions of future contingents.
  4. We argue that the pragmatic data together with a plausible account of assertion shows that in many cases we take future contingents to be true (or to be false), though we take the future to be open in relevant respects.
  5. It follows that appeals to intuition to support the non-bivalence of future contingents is untenable. Intuition favours bivalence.

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