There is a familiar debate between Russell and Strawson concerning bivalence and ‘the present King of France’. According to the Strawsonian view, ‘The present King of France is bald’ is neither true nor false, whereas, on the Russellian view, that proposition is simply false. In this paper, I develop what I take to be a crucial (and unnoticed) connection between this debate and a different domain where bivalence has been at stake: future contingents. On the familiar ‘Aristotelian’ view, future contingent propositions are neither true nor false. However, I argue that, just as there is a Russellian alternative to the Strawsonian view concerning ‘the present King of France’, according to which the relevant class of propositions all turn out false, so there is a Russellian alternative to the Aristotelian view, according to which future contingents all turn out false, not neither true nor false. The result: contrary to millennia of philosophical tradition, we can be open futurists without denying bivalence.
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- School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences - Chancellor's Fellow - Lecturer
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