On Existence of the Future

  • Stefan Snihur
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 309)


What is the future ? Does the future exist?

These questions play an essential role in disputes on some crucial philosophical issues, such as the problem of determinism and free will as well as problems concerning validity of fundamental principles of logic.

In order to solve these questions one has to distinguish three different modes of existence of objects which belong to the temporal sphere of being. They are: the real (actual, present) existence, the postreal (past) existence and the potential (prereal) existence. The notion of potential existence may be supposed to apply to two categories of objects. The first one comprises objects which in fact will become real. They may be referred to as potential objects (sensu stricto). The second category consists of quasipotential objects which never will come into existence.

This paper brings forth arguments for the thesis that the future is the domain objecsts which are potential sensu stricto. Only this definition presents the future as an ontologically homogeneous domain. And only on its basis the language systems which apply to the temporal sphere of being can satisfy the principles of non-contradiction and of excluded middle.


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  1. Aristotle, Hermeneutics.Google Scholar
  2. Kotarbiński, T., Zagadnienie istnienia przyszłości [The Problem of Existence of the Future], Przegląd Filozoficzny XVI, 1913.Google Scholar
  3. Łukasiewicz, J. 1987: O zasadzie sprzeczności u Arystotelesa [On the Principle of Contradiction in Aristotle], PWN, Warszawa.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Snihur
    • 1
  1. 1.WarsawPoland

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