Tense and temporal semantics

Synthese 124 (2):257-279 (2000)

Abstract

Tenseless theories of time entail that earlierthan, later than and simultaneous with (i.e.,McTaggart's `B-series') are the only temporalproperties exemplified by events. Such theories oftencome under attack for being unable to satisfactorilyaccount for tensed language. In this essay I arguethat tenseless theories of time are capable of twofeats that critics, such as Quentin Smith, argue arebeyond their grasp: (1) They can coherently explainthe impossibility of translating all tensed sentencesby tenseless counterparts; (2) They can account forcertain obviously valid entailment relations betweentensed sentence types. In analyzing tensed entailmentrelations tenselessly, I favor a date analysis oftensed language over a token-reflexive theory. Theupshot is that tenseless theories of time are notundermined by the linguistic facts.

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Joshua Mozersky
Queen's University

References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Frege on Demonstratives.John Perry - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):474-497.
Real Time Ii.D. H. Mellor - 1998 - Routledge.

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