David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The Dialogue 2:241-264 (2002)
The semantics of our event talk is a complex affair. What is it that we are talking about when we speak of Brutus’s stabbing of Caesar? Exactly where and when did it take place? Was it the same event as the killing of Caesar? Some take questions such as these to be metaphysical questions. I think they are questions of semantics—questions about the way we talk and about what we mean. And I think that this conflict between metaphysic and semantic concerns is indicative of a “deep indeterminacy” (Bennett’s phrase) in our event concept. We do talk about events; but what events a statement is about is not something that can be inferred from the event names we use; it depends heavily (more heavily than with ordinary material objects) on local context and unprincipled intuitions. This paper illustrates this view in connection with two examples: the phenomenon of vagueness and the dispute over identity statements.
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