Let's set some context:

Person A and Person B have a group project. They are both assigned a slide (Slide A for Person A and Slide B for Person B)

Person A has finished his slide, yet Person B hasn't.

Person A: "Are you going to finish your slide?"

Person B: "Yes, I will finish my slide tonight." Let's say Person B is not lying.

Would this statement "I will finish my slide tonight." be considered a fact (about the future)?

How do we know that even though he is not lying about doing it, he will actually do it?

  • 5
    "I will finish my slide tonight" is a shorthand for "I intend to finish my slide tonight, and I am confident that I can", so it is not a statement about the future. It is a statement about intent in the present, and it is a fact if the person is not lying or mistaken/delusional, i.e. if they truly have this intent and confidence. – Conifold Jul 2 at 3:08
  • What does "slide" mean? – gonzo Jul 2 at 3:22
  • @gonzo It's a single page in a presentation, e.g. in PowerPoint. In old times they were literally put on film slides and projected onto a screen. – Conifold Jul 2 at 5:47

No, person B is stating a future contingent until the truth is actually determined.

Some other statements about the future might arguably be facts though, like "the sun will rise at such time tomorrow".

If person B says "I want to finish my slide tonight" that can be a fact, if it is actually true. What matters is if it's true or not. Whether you know it to be true is a separate question.

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By definition, it is either true now or it is false now that the slide will be finished tomorrow.

The fact that something is true doesn't imply that we know it is true.

A fact is a state of affairs we know to be the case. It is certainly not the case that anyone would know for a fact that some slide will be finished tomorrow. We don't even know that there will be a tomorrow to begin with.

We don't know the future, as far as I am aware, and so we don't know future facts, and we don't even know that there will be a future to begin with.

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Don't need to go far to describe the problem, which is purely conceptual.

A fact is an observation performed in the past (or the present, which is just our short-term memory, that is, a recent past). Not in the future.

A situation that will occur in the future can never be a fact, including the sun coming out tomorrow. It is highly probable, but it is not yet a fact. Person B having the intention to finish does not imply it will occur.

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