Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Jacek Wawer

Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Ockhamism without Molinism

24 June 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: “Ockhamism” and “Molinism” are labels used to designate distinct, but closely related theories in the debate over future contingents. According to Ockhamism some future contingents are true: a true future contingent faithfully represents what will happen in the actual future. It turns out that a simple-minded representation of Ockhamism within the framework of Branching Time proves to be highly problematic, as it gives no interpretation of future tense in non-actual circumstances and, as a result, disables compositional semantics. As a response, many BT theorists turned to Molinism – a theory that assigns truth values not only to actual future contingents, but also to merely possible ones. Such a theory was naturally understood as a strengthening of Ockhamism according to which some of the so-called counterfactuals of freedom (i.e., counterfactuals with a contingent consequent) are true. According to Ockhamism the future contingent, “The coin will land heads,” uttered before the coin toss may be true. According to Molinism, even if I don’t toss the coin, the counterfactual future contingent “Had I tossed the coin, it would’ve landed heads,” may still be true. I will first explain that one can (and probably should) address the formal problems of Ockhamism without resorting to Molinism. Then, I outline the intuition that Molinism is indeed a strengthening of Ockhamism and that one could subscribe to the second without subscribing to the first. Finally, I present a formal theory that allows Ockhamism without Molinism. According to this theory, every future contingent is either true or false, while all the counterfactual future contingents are neither true nor false.