Against the Russellian open future

Anders Schoubye, Brian Rabern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Todd (forthcoming) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further controversial semantical or metaphysical complication. In this paper, we will show that this quasi-Russellian analysis of 'will' both lacks linguistic motivation and faces a variety of significant problems. In particular, we show that the standard arguments for Russell's treatment of definite descriptions fail to apply to statements of the form 'will(φ)'.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfzv189
Pages (from-to)1-21
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Against the Russellian open future'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this