Saturday, March 25, 2006

Determinate Future

Suarez on the determinate truth value of future contingent propositions:

For present purposes, one may reply briefly that the determinateness of the truth in a future contingent proposition does not have to derive from its being the case that the cause from which a given effect will proceed is already, in its own power and ability, determined to that effect at the time or instant when it is true to say that the effect is going to occur. Rather, this determinateness derives solely from the fact that at some [future] time the cause in question will be determined in its action to a given free effect. For this is all that is being asserted by means of the proposition in question--and it is _not_ being asserted that the cause, of itself and by its own power, is already determined to such an effect. Therefore, the truth or falsity of the propositions in which the effects in question are asserted to be future is compatible with the absolute contingency of those effects, since this sort of determinate truth is no more incompatible with contingency than in the case of a present-tense proposition. For even if a given effect is able to be brought about and able not to be brought about, from which it follows that it is contingent, nonetheless, one or the other will in fact determinately occur, and from this it follows that it is determinately a future contingent. (DM 19.10.11)

[Francisco Suarez, On Efficient Causality: Metaphysical Disputations 17, 18, and 19. Freddoso, tr. Yale UP (New Haven: 1994) 389-390.]

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