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Relative Truth$
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Manuel García-Carpintero and Max Kölbel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234950.001.0001

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Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths

Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths
Source:
Relative Truth
Author(s):

John MacFarlane

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234950.003.0004

Many philosophers have supposed that if possible worlds overlap and branch (as opposed to having qualitatively identical pasts and then ‘diverging’), our common-sense talk about the future is deeply misguided. Some of them plump for common sense, others for branching. This chapter argues that the dilemma is a false one. It is possible to develop a semantics for tense and the historical modalities that vindicate common-sense talk about the future, actuality, and historical possibility, even if there is branching. However, this can only be done in a semantic framework that relativizes truth to contexts of assessment.

Keywords:   branching worlds, future contingents, tense, historical possibility, actuality, relativism, assessment sensitivity, nonindexical contextualism, supervaluational semantics

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