[FOM] Throwing Darts, Time, and the Infinite

Kenny Easwaran easwaran at usc.edu
Tue Apr 24 14:02:33 EDT 2012

> On Monday, a real is selected. On Friday, a real will
> be selected. On Wednesday, you can bet at even odds whether Monday’s
> or Friday’s real is further into the well-ordering. Is it really
> coherent to take Monday’s? I am no expert on the metaphysics of time,
> but I take the over (Friday’s).

If you know Monday's real, then it makes sense to bet on Friday's.
But if you know Friday's real, then it makes sense to bet on Monday's.
 If on Wednesday there is already a fact of the matter as to what
Friday's real will be (which is the natural thought for a
four-dimensionalist about time, who thinks the future is already
settled, as is natural in light of relativity) then either of these
bets should be at least conceptually possible, and the argument
doesn't break the symmetry.  (Of course, if you know both reals, then
that settles the question of which to bet on, in a moderately
uninteresting way.)

On the other hand, if one thinks that there is a metaphysical
difference between the past and the future, with the past already
being "settled" and the future being "open", then one can know
Monday's real and one can't know Friday's, so the argument could show
something about the asymmetry of time.  But this metaphysical view is
at least problematic on a relativistic picture on which there is no
objective distinction between which events are "past" and which are

Of course, even in this case, there is non-measurability and
conditionalization on a set of measure zero, both of which may be
thought to raise additional worries independent of the metaphysics of


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