Between Ockhamism and the Thin Red Line

Alex Peter Malpass

About author

Alex Peter Malpass, PhD
University of Bristol, UK
University of Bristol
Department of Philosophy
Cotham House
University of Bristol


In this paper we will put forward a novel semantics for future contingents. The idea behind the semantics is to be a compromise position between the ‘Ockhamist’ semantics, first put forward by Prior [1966], Thomason [1970] etc., and a version of the Thin Red Line (TRL) semantics recently proposed by Malpass and Wawer [2012]. The new position is able to represent alternative possibilities in two different ways, as actual or counterfactual, which corresponds to a similar distinction in two-dimensional semantics between the primary and secondary intension. We prove a theorem about the notion of validity that results from the new definition, which in the context of the literature about TRL-theories and Ockhamism has some significance.

Full Text:



  1. N. Belnap, M. Perloff and M. Xu, Facing the Future, Oxford University Press, New York 2001.
  2. N. Belnap, M. Green, “Indeterminism and the Thin Red Line”, Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 8, Logic and Language 1994, p. 365–388.
  3. J.P. Burgess, “Logic and Time”, Journal of Symbolic Logic (44/4) 1979, p. 566–582.
  4. D. Chalmers, “On sense and intension” (16) 2002, p. 135-182.
  5. A. Malpass and J. Wawer, “A Future for the Thin Red Line”, Synthese (188/1) 2012, p. 117–142.
  6. A. Malpass, “Fara’s Formula and the Supervaluational Thin Red Line”, Theoria (28/2) 2013, p. 267–282.
  7. A.N. Prior, Time and Modality, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1957.
  8. A.N. Prior, “Postulate Sets for Tense Logic”, American Philosophical Quarterly (3/2) 1966, p. 153–161.
  9. A.N. Prior, Past, Present and Future, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1967.
  10. K. Fine, “Vagueness, Truth and Logic”, Synthese (30/3) 1975, p. 265–300.
  11. D. Graff-Fara, “Scope Confusions and Unsatisfiable Disjuncts: Two Problems for Supervaluationism”, [in:] Cuts and Clouds: Vaguenesss, its Nature, and its Logic, R. Diez, S. Moruzzi (eds.), Oxford UniversityPress, Oxford 2010, p. 373–382.
  12. P. Øhrstrøm, T. Braüner and P. Hasle, “Ockhamistic Logics and True Futures of Counterfactual Moments”, IEEE Temporal Representa-tion and Reasoning (Time-98) Proceedings, Sanibel Island, FL 1998.
  13. R. Thomason, “Indeterminist Time and Truth-Value Gaps”, Theoria (36/3) 1970, p. 264–281.
  14. R. Thomason and A. Gupta “A theory of conditionals in the context of branching time”, Philosophical Review (89/1) 1980, p. 65–90.
  15. R. Thomason, “Combinations of Tense and Modality”, [in:] The Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Vol. 7, G. Gabbay and F. Guenthner (eds.), D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht 2002, p. 135–165.
  16. M.M. Tweedle, “Future contingents and deflated truth-value gaps”, Noûs (38/2) 2004, p. 222–265.
  17. T. Williamson, Vagueness, Routledge, London 1994.
  18. A. Zanardo, “Branching-Time as a Relative Closeness Relation among Histories”, [in:] Proceedings of The Fifth Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation, October 6–10, 2003, R. Asatiani, K. Balogh, G. Chikoidze, P. Dekker and D. de Jongh (eds.), ILLC, University of Amsterdam, CLLS, Tbilisi State University, 2004, p. 11–18.


Article links:

Default URL:
English abstract URL:


All works are licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.