On Topological Issues of Indeterminism

Tomasz Placek, Nuel Belnap, Kohei Kishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indeterminism, understood as a notion that an event may be continued in a few alternative ways, invokes the question what a region of chanciness looks like. We concern ourselves with its topological and spatiotemporal aspects, abstracting from the nature or mechanism of chancy processes. We first argue that the question arises in Montague-Lewis-Earman conceptualization of indeterminism as well as in the branching tradition of Prior, Thomason and Belnap. As the resources of the former school are not rich enough to study topological issues, we investigate the question in the framework of branching space-times of Belnap (Synthese 92:385-434, 1992). We introduce a topology on a branching model as well as a topology on a history in a branching model. We define light-cones and assume four conditions that guarantee the light-cones so defined behave like light-cones of physical space-times. From among various topological separation properties that are relevant to our question, we investigate the Hausdorff property. We prove that each history in a branching model satisfies the Hausdorff property. As for the satisfaction of the Hausdorff property in the entire branching model, we prove that it is related to the phenomenon of passive indeterminism, which we describe in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-436
Number of pages34
Issue numberS3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Logic


Dive into the research topics of 'On Topological Issues of Indeterminism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this