True-to-Hume laws and the open-future (or Hypertemporal Humeanism)

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Take open-future Humeanism to comprise the following four tenets: (T1) that truth supervenes on a mosaic of local particular matters of fact; (T2) that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences; (T3) that there is a dynamic present moment; and (T4) that there are no future facts; that is, contingent propositions about the future obtain truth values only when their referents are actualised. Prima facie this is a deeply problematic metaphysic for the Humean, since given that the widely accepted Humean conception takes all truths (inclusive of nomological truths) to supervene on an omnitemporal mosaic of local particular matters of fact, if there are no future facts, then the Humean can neither provide laws of nature, nor justify many everyday inductive inferences. However, I argue that this eternalist metaphysic is in tension with at least one of Hume’s central metaphysical claims concerning causation, e.g. that causal regularities may cease to hold at any time. In this paper I propose and defend one possible open-future Humean metaphysic which admits of “true-to-Hume” causal and nomological facts. Furthermore, although I am happy to concede that induction is problematic for the open-future Humean, I demonstrate that it poses no greater threat to the open-future conception than it does to the popular Lewisian conception of natural law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalSouth African Journal of Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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