University of Notre Dame
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Presentism, Propositions, and Persons: A Systematic Case for All-falsism

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posted on 2015-12-08, 00:00 authored by Amy E. Seymour

I present a systematic case for all-falsism – the view that all undetermined future contingent propositions are false. I show that all-falsism is not only defensible, but attractive. It allows one to keep a wide range of philosophical intuitions and views, including bivalence, classical logic, libertarianism about free will, the fixity of the past, the openness of the future, non-existentialism about propositions, grounding for truth of propositions about the past, truth supervenes on being, and modal realism, all while being a presentist par excellence.

Presentism, the view that there are no non-present objects, is objected to in part because detractors think presentism requires one to give up at least one of the previously listed intuitive positions. These objections assume that some undetermined future contingents must be true. In chapter one, I show this assumption must go – all-falsism is an option. The common objection that all-falsism is a contradictory position fails. The all-falsist maintains that propositions about the future – will propositions – behave like modals. ‘Will’ is a kind of necessity operator.

In chapter two, after showing that the all-falsist can account for truths about the past, I argue that if one thinks ‘will’ a kind of necessity operator, one should reduce times to possible worlds. I demonstrate this reduction and show that it nicely accounts for similarities between times and possible worlds. This reduction allows the all-falsist, unlike other open future theorists, to be a modal realist.

All-falsism proves not only advantageous to presentists, but turns out to be the best open future view (OFV). There is currently widespread disagreement regarding requirements for OFVs. In chapter three, I settle the dispute. OFVs deny the tense logic axiom (K): p → HFp (if p, then it has always been the case that it will be that p). With this requirement in hand, I show all-falsism superior to all rivals.

In chapter four, I answer epistemological and pragmatic objections. I present the beginnings of semantics which answers the objections. The all-falsist can account for assertions people commonly make. In addition, I show that all-falsism provides a useful explanation of our behavior in lottery cases and the beginnings of a middle-ground position between contextualism and traditional epistemology.


Date Modified


Defense Date


Research Director(s)

Michael C. Rea

Committee Members

Jeff Speaks Meghan Sullivan Peter van Inwagen Dean Zimmerman


  • Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Level

  • Doctoral Dissertation

Program Name

  • Philosophy

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