Necessitation and the Changing Past

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A central tenet of truthmaker theory is that necessitation is necessary for truthmaking (nec). This paper defends nec in a novel, piecemeal way, namely by responding to a potential counterexample involving a changing past. If Carter won a race at t1 but is later disqualified at t2, then Carter no longer won at t1. A wholly past event seems to have changed in the future. The event makes ‘Carter won the race at t1’ (race) true between t1-2 but fails to make it true at t2. So, we have a potential counterexample to necessitation: a truthmaker of race fails in another context to make the same truthbearer race true. I argue that the best solution to this challenge is not that there are different truthbearers at t1-2 and t2 (the semantic response), or that race was never true because of the future disqualification or will always be true despite the future disqualification. The best solution is to accept that the past can change: past events can change based on what happens in the future (e.g., via their effects). This paper's novel defence of necessitation will illustrate the importance of utilising explicitly ontological and commonsensical tools in accounting for truth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1013
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • change
  • events
  • necessitation
  • ontology and semantics
  • tense
  • the past
  • truthmaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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