Actual vis-​​a-​​vis Real Possibilities

Or “On the Com­pos­si­bil­ity of the Non-​​Existence of Actual Alter­nate Pos­si­bil­i­ties and the Exis­tence of Real Alter­nate Possibilities”

On my view there are three modes of pos­si­bil­ity: log­i­cal, meta­phys­i­cal, and actual. Log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties are those per­mit­ted by logic, meta­phys­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties are those per­mit­ted by logic and the laws of meta­physics, and actual pos­si­bil­i­ties are those per­mit­ted by logic, the laws of meta­physics, and actuality.

Actual alter­nate pos­si­bil­i­ties do not exist, and there­fore knowl­edge of the future is possible.

When mere meta­phys­i­cal pos­si­bil­ity is too broad to be rel­e­vant, and actual pos­si­bil­ity is too nar­row, we turn to “real” pos­si­bil­i­ties to describe pos­si­ble worlds in which the basic prop­er­ties of the actual world obtain and in which his­tory has gone iden­ti­cally to the actual world up to a given point.

Unlike actual pos­si­bil­i­ties, of which each has no alter­nate, there are alter­nate real pos­si­bil­i­ties, and the abil­ity to choose between them is what grounds free will.

The com­pos­si­bil­ity of the non-​​existence of alter­nate actual pos­si­bil­i­ties and the exis­tence of alter­nate real pos­si­bil­i­ties means that fore­knowl­edge and free will are also compossible.

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