Alessio Santelli


Branching time, Actuality and Assertion


Branching concretism is the metaphysical theory according to which our universe is a collection of tree-like arranged possible worlds (or histories) that overlap up to a certain moment, the present, and branch towards the future. Branching concretists also claim that, in order for the future to be genuinely open, possible worlds must be considered ontologically on a par so that none of them can be singled out as the actual world. The underlying though is that positing such a world amounts to rejecting objective indeterminism. Branching concretists are naturally confronted with the so-called assertion problem involving future contingents: how should we make sense of assertions about events that are not settled at the time of the assertion? The paper explores the main candidate solutions to the assertion problem advocated by branching concretists, and concludes that none of them is satisfactory. More specifically, it will be argued that the reason of their failure lies in the very assumption that makes their metaphysical account so attractive, namely that, in the absence of an actual world or history, future contingents cannot be true (false) at the context of utterance. This, in turn, leads branching concretists, as David Lewis (1986) has suggested, to a radical revision of the way in which we ordinary talk about the future.

Date / Time / Place

June 21st / 9:35 / Aula 0A