Reply To: Truth about Future Propositions


osgood401: In your response to JohnD’s post, you write:

“1 Ben works at the mall everyday.
2Ben never misses work.
3 Ben is likely to go to the mall tomorrow.
if 1 and 2 are true then 3 is true. Ben could get sick and miss work tomorrow but because 3 is not definitive it is still true.”

This isn’t a problem with future contingents but is, rather, a matter of probability which raises a whole other set of problems. As you phrase it, a lot hinges on premise 2. ‘Ben never misses work’. Is this to be understood historically (i.e. as a matter of fact, Ben has never missed work to date) or predictively or normatively (Ben will never miss work). If it’s taken historically, then it seems to me that the argument would be valid even if Ben were to become ill and stay at home. However, if you take it predictively or normatively, then it’s hard to see how Ben’s stay-at-homeness hasn’t falsified the premise.

As should be apparent from this response and my previous response to JohnD, issues of probability, future contingency and the like are some of the more vexed problems in the philosophy of logic. See Susan Haack’s book called Philosophy of Logics for more on such topics.