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Tense and Temporal Semantics

Joshua M. Mozersky
Synthese
Vol. 124, No. 2 (Aug., 2000), pp. 257-279
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118310
Page Count: 23
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Abstract

Tenseless theories of time entail that "earlier than, later than and simultaneous with" (i.e., McTaggart's 'B-series') are the only temporal properties exemplified by events. Such theories often come under attack for being unable to satisfactorily account for tensed language. In this essay I argue that tenseless theories of time are capable of two feats that critics, such as Quentin Smith, argue are beyond their grasp: (1) They can coherently explain the impossibility of translating all tensed sentences by tenseless counterparts; (2) They can account for certain obviously valid entailment relations between tensed sentence types. In analyzing tensed entailment relations tenselessly, I favor a date analysis of tensed language over a token-reflexive theory. The upshot is that tenseless theories of time are not undermined by the linguistic facts.

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