Outline for a Truth-Conditional Semantics for Tense

In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Tense, Time and Reference. MIT Press. pp. 49-105 (2003)


Our aim in the present paper is to investigate, from the standpoint of truth-theoretic semantics, English tense, temporal designators and quantifiers, and other expressions we use to relate ourselves and other things to the temporal order. Truth-theoretic semantics provides a particularly illuminating standpoint from which to discuss issues about the semantics of tense, and their relation to thoughts at, and about, times. Tense, and temporal modifiers, contribute systematically to conditions under which sentences we utter are true or false. A Tarski-style truth-theoretic semantics, by requiring explicitly represented truth conditions, helps to sharpen questions about the function of tense, and to deepen our insight into the contribution the tenses and temporal modifiers make to what we say by using them.

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Author Profiles

Kirk Ludwig
Indiana University, Bloomington
Ernie LePore
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

References found in this work

The Principles of Mathematics.Bertrand Russell - 1903 - Cambridge, England: Allen & Unwin.
Elements of Symbolic Logic.Hans Reichenbach - 1947 - London: Dover Publications.
The Logical Form of Action Sentences.Donald Davidson - 1967 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 81--95.
The Principles of Mathematics.Bertrand Russell - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 11 (4):11-12.
Verbs and Times.Zeno Vendler - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (2):143-160.

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