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Branching in the landscape of possibilities

Müller, Thomas (2011) Branching in the landscape of possibilities. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    The metaphor of a branching tree of future possibilities has a number of important philosophical and logical uses. In this paper we trace this metaphor through some of its uses and argue that the metaphor works the same way in physics as in philosophy. We then give an overview of formal systems for branching possibilities, viz., branching time and (briefly) branching space-times. In a next step we describe a number of different notions of possibility, thereby sketching a landscape of possibilities. In the final section of the paper we look at the place of branching-based possibilities in that larger landscape of possibilities. Our main message is that far from being an outlandish metaphysical extravagancy, branching-based possibilities are epistemically as well as metaphysically basic.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Branching time, branching space-times, modality, possibility, experiment
    Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
    General Issues > Experimentation
    Depositing User: Dr. Thomas Müller
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2011 04:52
    Last Modified: 19 Nov 2011 04:52
    Item ID: 8909
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8909

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