Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

John Corvino


This essay is a contribution to the new trend and old tradition of analyzing theological fatalism in light of its relationship to logical fatalism. All results pertain to branching temporal systems that use the A-theory and assume presentism. The project focuses on two kinds of views about branching time. One position is true futurism, which designates what will occur regardless of contingency. The opposing view is open futurism, by which no possible course of events is privileged over others; that is, there are no soft facts.

A contextualist theory of temporal standpoints, standpoint inheritance, is designed to enhance Priorian temporal logics. The proposal helps all branching time systems, not only those with an open future. Even though an account of temporal standpoints goes a long way towards aiding various analyses from a linguistic standpoint, theories that designate a true future ultimately succumb to philosophical difficulties. Under open futurism, standpoint inheritance commandeers the best semantic evidence for true futurism. Standpoint inheritance accounts for the evidence, but the evidence does not support true futurism's stronger claims. Furthermore, attempts to explain why one timeline is privileged as the actual future lead to fatalism. Open futurism and a related kind of open theism are the only viable alternatives under dynamic, branching time. If true futurism is feasible at all, it is so only with a static or eternalist basis.

Standpoint inheritance is very general. It is applied to every system discussed in this analysis to handle damning linguistic shortcomings of traditional logics. Standpoint inheritance yields several other fruitful results, too. The theory helps clarify what it is for characterizations of God's beliefs to be soft and how his beliefs must differ from normal beliefs to retain softness. For open futurism, all strings of consecutive will's and was's can be reduced to at most two such operators under standpoint inheritance, but not under traditional theories. The open futurist distinction between will and will-inevitably is clarified, too. Standpoint inheritance allows for a supervaluationist semantics using open futurism as its basis instead of the usual true futurism. The theory of standpoint inheritance enhances dynamic, branching accounts of time to better compete with their static correlates.