At least since Aristotle’s famous ‘sea-battle’ passages in On Interpretation 9, some substantial minority of philosophers has been attracted to what we might call the doctrine of the open future. This doctrine maintains that future contingent statements—roughly, statements saying of causally undetermined events that they will happen—are not true.1 But, prima facie, such viewsseem inconsistent with the following intuition: if something has happened, then (looking backwards) it was the case that it would happen. How can it be that, looking forwards, it isn’t true that there will be a sea-battle, while also being true that, looking backwards, it was the case that there would be a sea-battle? This tension forms, in large part, what might be called the problem of future contingents.
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