The idea that temporalpropositions are vague predicates is examined with attention to the nature of the objects over which the predicates range. These objects should not, it is argued, be identified once and for all with points or intervals in the real line (or any fixed linear order). Context has an important role to play not only in sidestepping the Sorites paradox (Gaifman 2002) but also in shaping temporal moments/extent (Landman 1991). The Russell-Wiener construction of time (...) from events (Kamp 1979) is related to a notion of context given by a string of observations, the vagueness in which is brought out by grounding the observations in the real line. With this notion of context, the context dependency functions in Gaifman 2002 are adapted to interpret temporalpropositions. (shrink)
Temporalpropositions are mapped to sets of strings that witness (in a precise sense) the propositions over discrete linear Kripke frames. The strings are collected into regular languages to ensure the decidability of entailments given by inclusions between languages. (Various notions of bounded entailment are shown to be expressible as language inclusions.) The languages unwind computations implicit in the logical (and temporal) connectives via a system of finite-state constraints adapted from finite-state morphology. Applications to Hybrid Logic (...) and non-monotonic inertial reasoning are briefly considered. (shrink)
Relations computed by ﬁnite-state transducers are applied to interpret temporalpropositions in terms of strings representing ﬁnite contexts or situations. Carnap–Montague intensions mapping indices to extensions are reformulated as relations between strings that can serve as indices and extensions alike. Strings are related according to information content, temporal span and granularity, the bounds on which reﬂect the partiality of natural language statements. That partiality shapes not only strings-as-extensions (indicating what statements are about) but also strings-as-indices (underlying truth (...) conditions). (shrink)
This paper is in three sections. In the first I describe and illustrate three uses of indices of truth in semantics. The way I illustrate this classification is not completely uncontroversial, but I expect that my intuitions on this matter are generally shared. In the second section I broach a question which is central to the metaphysics of time, namely: how should certain temporal indices of truth - times - be fitted within this classificatory scheme? I sketch three proposals (...) as to how this might be done, and show how they constitute different metaphysical conceptions of the nature of time. Finally, in the third section I turn to a specific problem with the classification of times (as indices of truth) I call 'non-indexical'. Mellor (1981) thinks this problem insoluble, and argues that it shows this classification to be absurd. However, by appealing to the modal analogues of the issues involved, I first show that Mellor's argument is question- begging, and then go on to show how the non-indexical classification of times might undermine the presuppositions on which his argument rests. The paper attempts to contribute to a discussion of the question raised in section II, not to provide a definitive answer to it. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Part 1 discusses the Stoic notion of propositions (assertibles, axiomata): their definition; their truth-criteria; the relation between sentence and proposition; propositions that perish; propositions that change their truth-value; the temporal dependency of propositions; the temporal dependency of the Stoic notion of truth; pseudo-dates in propositions. Part 2 discusses Stoic modal logic: the Stoic definitions of their modal notions (possibility, impossibility, necessity, non-necessity); the logical relations between the modalities; modalities as properties of (...) class='Hi'>propositions; contingent propositions; the relation between the Stoic modal notions and those of Diodorus Cronus and Philo of Megara; the role of ‘external hindrances’ for the modalities; the temporal dependency of the modalities; propositions that change their modalities; the principle that something possible can follow from something impossible; the interpretations of the Stoic modal system by B. Mates, M. Kneale, M. Frede, J. Vuillemin and M. Mignucci are evaluated. -/- For a much shorter English version of Part 1 of the book see my ‘Stoic Logic’, in K. Algra et al. (eds), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge 1999, 92-157. For a shorter, updated, English version of Part 2 of the book see my 'Chrysippus' Modal Logic and its Relation to Philo and Diodorus', in K. Doering / Th. Ebert (eds) Dialektiker und Stoiker (Stuttgart 1993) 63-84. (shrink)
Presentists believe that only present things exist. But opponents insist this view has unacceptable implications: if only present things exist, we can’t express singular propositions about the past, since the obvious propositional constituents don’t exist, nor can we account for temporal passage, or the openness of the future. According to such opponents, and in spite of the apparent ‘common sense’ status of the view, presentism should be rejected on the basis of these unacceptable implications. In this paper, I (...) present and defend a version of presentism that avoids the unacceptable implications. The basic strategy I employ is familiar—I postulate presently existing entities to serve as surrogates for non-present entities—but some of the details of my proposal are more novel, and their application to these problems is certainly novel. One overarching thesis of this paper is that Thisness Presentism is preferable to other versions of presentism since it solves important problems facing standard iterations of the view. And I assume that this is a good positive reason in favour of the underlying thisness ontology. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A detailed presentation of Stoic logic, part one, including their theories of propositions (or assertibles, Greek: axiomata), demonstratives, temporal truth, simple propositions, non-simple propositions(conjunction, disjunction, conditional), quantified propositions, logical truths, modal logic, and general theory of arguments (including definition, validity, soundness, classification of invalid arguments).
Philosophers have responded to McTaggart’s famous argument for the unreality of time in a variety of ways. Some of those responses are not easy to evaluate, since they involve, for example, sometimes murky questions concerning whether a certain infinite regress is or is not vicious. In this paper I set out a response that has not, I think, been advanced by any other author, and which, if successful, is absolutely clear-cut. The basic idea is simply that a tensed approach to (...) time can avoid McTaggart’s contradiction, and can also avoid any regress, vicious or otherwise, by specifying the times at which events have different tensed properties in a tenseless fashion — namely, by using dates. This answer to McTaggart’s argument is, however, open to four important objections. The first objection is that my answer to the second part of McTaggart’s argument is incompatible with something that McTaggart takes himself to have proved in the first part of his argument — the claim, namely, that “there can be no change unless some propositions are sometimes true and sometimes false.” The second objection is that the sentences that I claim can be used to specify when an event has a given tensed property do not in fact do so, since they turn out to be purely tenseless sentences. The third objection is that the sentences in question make use of tenseless verbs, and that it is not in fact possible to make sense of such verbs. The fourth and final objection is that it is not really possible to specify, in tenseless terms, when an event has a given tensed property, since dates have to be analyzed using the relation of temporal priority, and that relation, in turn, must be analyzed in terms of the tensed properties of pastness, presentness and futurity, so that the purportedly tenseless specification is implicitly tensed. I argue, however, that none of these four objections can be sustained. (shrink)
Logics of discrete time are, in Arthur Prior’s words, “applicable in limited fields of discourse in which we are concerned with what happens in a sequence of discrete states,” independent of “any serious metaphysical assumption that time is discrete.” This insight is applied to natural language semantics, a widespread assumption in which is that time is, as is the real line, dense. “Limited fields of discourse” are construed as finite sets of temporalpropositions, inducing bounded notions of (...) class='Hi'>temporal granularity that can be refined to expand the discourse. The construal is developed in line with Prior’s view of what is “metaphysically fundamental”. (shrink)
This paper aims to clarify the connection between the logic of temporal distinctions and the temporal features of propositions. Contra Prior, it argues that the adoption of tense operators does not commit one to the view that propositions can change their truth value over time.
The article considers the possibility of saying the same truth in different expressions. It is relevant the Fregean distinction between sense and reference. The author shows the deep difference between the objective Fregean notion of truth and Aquinas' version, according to which the truth of the proposition is related, in many cases, to the situation of the speaker.
ABSTRACT: An introduction to Stoic logic. Stoic logic can in many respects be regarded as a fore-runner of modern propositional logic. I discuss: 1. the Stoic notion of sayables or meanings (lekta); the Stoic assertibles (axiomata) and their similarities and differences to modern propositions; the time-dependency of their truth; 2.-3. assertibles with demonstratives and quantified assertibles and their truth-conditions; truth-functionality of negations and conjunctions; non-truth-functionality of disjunctions and conditionals; language regimentation and ‘bracketing’ devices; Stoic basic principles of propositional logic; (...) 4. Stoic modal logic; 5. Stoic theory of arguments: two premisses requirement; validity and soundness; 6. Stoic syllogistic or theory of formally valid arguments: a reconstruction of the Stoic deductive system, which consisted of accounts of five types of indemonstrable syllogisms, which function as nullary argumental rules that identify indemonstrables or axioms of the system, and four deductive rules (themata) by which certain complex arguments can be reduced to indemonstrables and thus shown to be formally valid themselves; 7. arguments that were considered as non-syllogistically valid (subsyllogistic and unmethodically concluding arguments). Their validity was explained by recourse to formally valid arguments. (shrink)
This paper presents a formal account of how to determine the discourse relations between propositions introduced in a text, and the relations between the events they describe. The distinct natural interpretations of texts with similar syntax are explained in terms of defeasible rules. These characterise the effects of causal knowledge and knowledge of language use on interpretation. Patterns of defeasible entailment that are supported by the logic in which the theory is expressed are shown to underly temporal interpretation.
In conclusion, then, the notion of temporal necessity is certainly queer and perhaps a misnomer. It really has little to do with temporality per se and everything to do with counterfactual openness or closedness. We have seen that the future is as unalterable as the past, but that this purely logical truth is not antithetical to freedom or contingency. Moreover, we have found certain past facts are counterfactually open in that were future events or actualities to be other than (...) they will be, these past facts would have been different as a consequence. God's beliefs about the future are such past facts. Moreover, the effects of actions which God would have taken had He believed differently are also such past facts. Oddly enough, then, virtually any past fact is potentially counterfactually open, and the only necessity that remains is purely de facto. We, of course, do not in general know which events of the past depend counterfactually on present actions, and those cases we do know about seem rather trivial. Our intuitions of the necessity, unalterability, and unpreventability of the past as opposed to the future stem from the impossibility of backward causation, which is precluded by the dynamic nature of time and becoming. But the counterfactual dependence of God's beliefs on future events or actualities is not a case of backward causation: rather future-tense propositions are true in virtue of what will happen, given a view of truth as correspondence, and God simply has the essential property of knowing all and only true propositions. With regard to the future, virtually all facts are counterfactually open, and therefore future-tense propositions are not temporally necessary. Propositions thus move from being temporally contingent to being temporally necessary when all the opportunities to affect things counterfactually have slipped by. Hence, the mere fact that an event is past is no indication that it is counterfactually closed. This is especially evident in the case of God's foreknowledge. If we say that God foreknows that I shall do x and therefore I cannot refrain from doing x, lest I change God's past foreknowledge, we are being deceived by a modality which has nothing to do with my power or freedom. All that is impossible is the conjunction of God's foreknowledge that p and of ~ p; but this modality in sensu composito has no bearing on my ability to act such that ~ p would be true and God would have foreknown differently. Temporal necessity, then, turns out to be only obliquely temporal and modally weak, certainly no threat to freedom or divine foreknowledge. (shrink)
The temporal subordinating conjunctions fall into two categories, durative and non-durative, depending on the length of time for which the main proposition is predicated to hold. Formally the two durative subordinating conjunctions in English, temporal since and until, are usually treated as though they were symmetric about the time of reference (henceforth the TOR). I examine this assumption from three points of view: the time relationships between the main and subordinate propositions, the truth conditions of the two (...)propositions, and the causal relationship that may be inferred between the states or events referred to by the main and sub propositions. The analysis is based on samples from the Brown University corpus In order to distinguish between the temporal and inferential meanings of since four criteria are needed, corresponding to the four different uses to which temporal since may be put. The principal criterion is that the main verb must be in the past aspect, corresponding to the use of since to indicate that the main proposition is true at some moment prior to the TOR. There are also three special uses of since: in a comparative construction, as part of an explicit reference to a time period and as a qualifier in a noun phrase. In all uses the sub-proposition indicates the onset of a time period which ends at the TOR. The main proposition must be true either once, several times or for the whole of this period, depending on the durative aspect of the main verb. The main proposition is also conversationally implied to be false before the onset of the time indicated by the sub-proposition. The sub-proposition is presupposed to be true. Until marks the end of a time period that, by default, begins at the TOR. The main proposition is asserted to hold during this period, except when until is being used in one of the same three special uses as we found for since. The sub-proposition is presupposed to be true when the TOR is in the past and conversationally implied to be true when it is in the present or the future, except in special circumstances. Usually one of four causal connections may be inferred between the sub and main propositions; the sub-proposition is either: 1) the cause of the main proposition ceasing to hold, 2) the cause of the starting of the unnegated form of the main proposition (only with negative main propositions), 3) the goal of the actor in the main proposition or 4) an unintended result of the main proposition. In some respects the properties of temporal since and until are the same, e.g. in marking the boundary of a time period, in having the same three special uses and in hardly ever having a negated sub-clause. They are symmetric with respect to the TOR, as evidenced by the use of the perfect with since and its absence (with one exception) with until. But there are also other nonsymmetric differences: the time of utterance may be in the middle of the time period specified for since; the tense of the subclause is always in the past for since but depends on the time of the TOR with until; until is always durative; for until a negated non-durative main verb is interpreted as durative; since may indicate only the cause of the main proposition, whereas until is not confined to indicating the result of the main proposition, but any one of four different possible causal relations may be inferred. (shrink)
Contemporary theories of the temporal asymmetry of deliberation seek the origins of the asymmetry either in the physics of the early universe or in the epistemic orientation of agents. An attempt is made in the following lines to consolidate the rival thesis that the temporal asymmetry of deliberation is rooted in an ontological divide between the past and the future. I argue that agents can deliberate about the future but not the past because while the past is in (...) a sense real, the future is nothing at all. The argument for the thesis includes striking a connection between deliberation and truth on the one hand and truth and being on the other. The argument thus proceeds, via a modal principle, from the asymmetry of deliberation into the semantics of propositions about the past, the present, and the future and from there to the ontology of the past, the present, and the future. The ‘ticket’ for transition in the argument from semantics to ontology is a truth-making principle, according to which propositions are true or false in virtue of an existing reality. (shrink)
Future Logic is an original and wide-ranging treatise of formal logic. It deals with deduction and induction, of categorical and conditional propositions, involving the natural, temporal, extensional, and logical modalities. This is the first work ever to strictly formalize the inductive processes of generalization and particularization, through the novel methods of factorial analysis, factor selection and formula revision. This is the first work ever to develop a formal logic of the natural, temporal and extensional types of conditioning (...) (as distinct from logical conditioning), including their production from modal categorical premises. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: The modal systems of the Stoic logician Chrysippus and the two Hellenistic logicians Philo and Diodorus Cronus have survived in a fragmentary state in several sources. From these it is clear that Chrysippus was acquainted with Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, and also that he developed his own in contrast of Diodorus’ and in some way incorporated Philo’s. The goal of this paper is to reconstruct the three modal systems, including their modal definitions and modal theorems, and to make (...) clear the exact relations between them; moreover, to elucidate the philosophical reasons that may have led Chrysippus to modify his predessors’ modal concept in the way he did. It becomes apparent that Chrysippus skillfully combined Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, with making only a minimal change to Diodorus’ concept of possibility; and that he thus obtained a modal system of modalities (logical and physical) which fit perfectly fit into Stoic philosophy. (shrink)
This article rebuts Ramsey's earlier theory, in 'Universals of Law and of Fact', of how laws of nature differ from other true generalisations. It argues that our laws are rules we use in judging 'if I meet an F I shall regard it as a G'. This temporal asymmetry is derived from that of cause and effect and used to distinguish what's past as what we can know about without knowing our present intentions.
We propose a semantic analysis of the particles afinal (European Portuguese) and alla fine (Italian) in terms of the notion of truth unpersistence, which combines both epistemic modality and constraints on discourse structure. We argue that the felicitous use of these modal particles requires that the truth of a proposition p* fail to persist through a temporal succession of epistemic states, where p* is incompatible with the proposition modified by afinal/alla fine, and that the interlocutors share knowledge of a (...) previous epistemic attitude toward p*. We analyze two main cases, that of plan-related propositions and that of propositions without plans. We also discuss the connections between truth unpersistence and evidentiality. (shrink)
The struggle to delineate the relationship between theology and logic flourished in the thirteenth century and culminated in two condemnations in early 1277, one in Paris and the other in Oxford. To see how much and what kind of effect ecclesiastical actions such as condemnations and prohibitions to teach had on the development of logic in the Middle Ages, we investigate the events leading up to the 1277 actions, the condemned propositions, and the parts of these condemnations connected to (...) modal and temporal logic specifically. We show that because of the specific motivations late thirteenth-century and fourteenth-century logicians had when working in modal and temporal logic, the effect of the 1277 condemnations on the development of those branches was much smaller than might have been supposed. (shrink)
Concepts of space and time are widely developed in physics. However, there is a considerable lack of biologically plausible theoretical frameworks that can demonstrate how space and time dimensions are implemented in the activity of the most complex life-system – the brain with a mind. Brain activity is organized both temporally and spatially, thus representing space-time in the brain. Critical analysis of recent research on the space-time organization of the brain’s activity pointed to the existence of so-called operational space-time in (...) the brain. This space-time is limited to the execution of brain operations of differing complexity. During each such brain operation a particular short-term spatio-temporal pattern of integrated activity of different brain areas emerges within related operational space-time. At the same time, to have a fully functional human brain one needs to have a subjective mental experience. Current research on the subjective mental experience offers detailed analysis of space-time organization of the mind. According to this research, subjective mental experience (subjective virtual world) has definitive spatial and temporal properties similar to many physical phenomena. Based on systematic review of the propositions and tenets of brain and mind space-time descriptions, our aim in this review essay is to explore the relations between the two. To be precise, we would like to discuss the hypothesis that via the brain operational space-time the mind subjective space-time is connected to otherwise distant physical space-time reality. (shrink)
In section 1 we argue that the adoption of a tenseless notion of truth entails a realistic view of propositions and provability. This view, in turn, opens the way to the intelligibility of theclassical meaning of the logical constants, and consequently is incompatible with the antirealism of orthodox intuitionism. In section 2 we show how what we call the potential intuitionistic meaning of the logical constants can be defined, on the one hand, by means of the notion of atemporal (...) provability and, on the other, by means of the operator K of epistemic logic. Intuitionistic logic, as reconstructed within this perspective, turns out to be a part of epistemic logic, so that it loses its traditional foundational role, antithetic to that of classical logic. In section 3 we uphold the view that certain consequences of the adoption of atemporal notion of truth, despite their apparent oddity, are quite acceptable from an antirealist point of view. (shrink)
The aim of this paper1 is to provide a unified semantic analysis for three important readings of the Italian Imperfetto (and Presente): the PROGressive, the HABitual, and the FUTurate reading. To highlight the role of the utterance context in setting the relevant parameters of interpretation, explicit temporal adverbials are left out of the scene and prominence is given to the situations where the context provides the temporal information required to discriminate between alternative readings, by exploiting a single logical (...) form. The paper is organized as follows. After a short presentation of the data (sect. 1), in the second section I discuss some intuitive features of imperfectivity by focusing on the fact that the conclusion of an event or series of events is left open. This indeterminacy with respect to a given perspective point is formalized in the third section of the paper by resorting to a branching time model. In the third section a unitary treatment (based on the derivation of a single logical form) is proposed for the three main readings of tenses such as the Presente and the Imperfetto and for an intriguing side effect that, in some particular circumstances, makes a "perfective" reading possible. Since the context has a key role in this reconstruction of imperfectivity, the last section of the paper is devoted to the consideration of the temporal parameters to which the evaluation of an utterance is relativized. (shrink)
Cet article opère une comparaison des théories de la proposition — entendue dans sa double dimension sémantique et gnoséologique — du Wittgenstein des Philosophische Bemerkungen et du Russell de The Analysis of Mind . Après avoir rappelé le statut sémantique nouveau que ces théories accordent au temps en intégrant le fait qu’un délai sépare, pour un grand nombre de nos énoncés, leur occurrence et leur vérification , il établit que la notion d’attente est chargée, chez Wittgenstein comme chez Russell , (...) de combler cet écart temporel. Mais — c’est le deuxième point — une notion différente est mobilisée par chacun de ces deux auteurs, et dans un projet théorique à chaque fois différent : alors que Wittgenstein vise à étendre la notion tractatuséenne de relation interne aux relations sémantiques temporelles et à défendre un intentionnalisme logique, Russell cherche au contraire à soutenir une conception externaliste de ces relations de façon à faire droit aux cas où elles sont non-intentionnelles. Pour cela, Wittgenstein adopte un concept appelé ici « intentionnel » de l’attente, alors que Russell s’appuie sur un concept dit « non-intentionnel ». Une conséquence majeure de cette différence — c’est le troisième point — est que la célèbre critique par Wittgenstein de l’analyse russellienne de l’attente se révèle être largement erronée dans la mesure où elle se donne pour cible un concept qui n’est pas celui de Russell. Le quatrième point défendu par l’article est qu’une fois rétabli le concept de Russell, l’externalisme que celui-ci défend est doté d’arguments susceptibles de contrer efficacement la position internaliste et intentionnaliste de Wittgenstein.This paper carries out a comparison between the theories of the proposition — in its semantical and epistemic significance — elaborated respectively by Wittgenstein in Philosophische Bemerkungen and by Russell in The Analysis of Mind . Having recalled that time is endowed with a new semantical status by both theories through acknowledging there is a lapse between many of our utterances and their verification , it brings out that the notion of Erwartung by Wittgenstein and the notion of expectation by Russell are meant to bridge this temporal gap. But — this is the second point — those two notions have two different meanings and they belong to a different theoretical framework by each of those authors : while Wittgenstein’s goal is to extend the Tractarian notion of internal relations to temporal semantic relations in order to support a logical version of intentionalism, Russell aims at favoring an externalist view of those relations and to put forward cases in which they are non-intentional. For these respective purposes, the Erwartung notion elaborated by Wittgenstein is a “intentional” notion, whereas the notion of expectation that Russell adopts is a “non-intentional” notion. One chief consequence of this difference — this is the third point — is that Wittgenstein’s famous criticism of Russell’s analysis of expectation falls short because it targets a notion that is not Russell’s own notion. The fourth point of the paper is that acknowledging Russell’s notion provides externalism with some strong arguments to counter Wittgenstein’s internalist and intentionalist position. (shrink)
When is a proposition true? It is common to expert an answer of the form “at instant x”. In section I) I present an example of the consequences that such instantaneous semantics in tense logic can have, and review some of the problems that have led to the proposal of using intervals, rather than instants, as the indices at which to evaluate propositions. In the section II) I present some of the problems with the intervals themselves, and in section (...) III) I consider the possibilities of having he best of both worlds. Due to the still tentative character of interval semantics, I focus on the consideration of metatheoretical issues rather than on the technical points of the particular systems of interval semantics so far proposed. (shrink)
It is surprisingly hard to define presentism. Traditional definitions of the view, in terms of tensed existence statements, have turned out not to to be capable of convincingly distinguishing presentism from eternalism. Picking up on a recent proposal by Tallant, I suggest that we need to locate the break between eternalism and presentism on a much more fundamental level. The problem is that presentists have tried to express their view within a framework that is inherently eternalist. I call that framework (...) the Fregean nexus, as it is defined by Frege’s atemporal understanding of predication. In particular, I show that the tense-logical understanding of tense which is treated as common ground in the debate rests on this very same Fregean nexus, and is thus inadequate for a proper definition of presentism. I contrast the Fregean nexus with what I call the original temporal nexus, which is based on an alternative, inherently temporal form of predication. Finally, I propose to define presentism in terms of the original temporal nexus, yielding original presentism. According to original presentism, temporalpropositions are distinguished from atemporal ones not by aspects of their content, as they are on views based on the Fregean nexus, but by their form—in particular, by their form of predication. (shrink)
Finite-state methods are applied to the Russell-Wiener notion of time (based on events) and developed into an account of interval relations and temporalpropositions. Strings are formed and collected in regular languages and regular relations that are argued to embody temporal relations in their various underspecified guises. The regular relations include retractions that reduce computations by projecting strings down to an appropriate level of granularity, and non-deterministic relations defining notions of partiality within and across such levels.
Events and situations are represented by strings of temporally ordered observations, on the basis of which the events and situations are recognized. Allen’s basic interval relations are derived from superposing strings that mark interval boundaries, and Kamp’s event structures are constructed as projective limits of strings. Observations are generalized to temporalpropositions, leading to event-types that classify event-instances. Working with sets of strings built from temporalpropositions, we obtain natural notions of bounded entailment from set inclusions. (...) These inclusions are decidable if the sets are accepted by finite automata. (shrink)
This paper argues that attitudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim, should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
This chapter offers a overview of Shadworth Hodgson's account of experience as fundamentally temporal, an account that was deeply influential on thinkers such as William James and which prefigures the phenomenology of Husserl in many ways. I highlight eight key features that are characteristic of Hodgson's account, and how they hang together to provide a coherent overall picture of experience and knowledge. Hodgson's account is then compared to Husserl's, and I argue that Hodgson's account offers a better target for (...) projects such as neurophenomenology than does Husserl's. Hodgson's account is historically important as a culmination of a certain trajectory of British Empiricist thought. It offers a substantive alternative for how to think about temporality and experience in contemporary discussions, not just of the present moment but of the relationship between experience and knowledge more broadly. (shrink)
Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.
Human agents draw a variety of inferences effortlessly, spontaneously, and with remarkable efficiency – as though these inferences were a reflexive response of their cognitive apparatus. Furthermore, these inferences are drawn with reference to a large body of background knowledge. This remarkable human ability seems paradoxical given the complexity of reasoning reported by researchers in artificial intelligence. It also poses a challenge for cognitive science and computational neuroscience: How can a system of simple and slow neuronlike elements represent a large (...) body of systemic knowledge and perform a range of inferences with such speed? We describe a computational model that takes a step toward addressing the cognitive science challenge and resolving the artificial intelligence paradox. We show how a connectionist network can encode millions of facts and rules involving n-ary predicates and variables and perform a class of inferences in a few hundred milliseconds. Efficient reasoning requires the rapid representation and propagation of dynamic bindings. Our model (which we refer to as SHRUTI) achieves this by representing (1) dynamic bindings as the synchronous firing of appropriate nodes, (2) rules as interconnection patterns that direct the propagation of rhythmic activity, and (3) long-term facts as temporal pattern-matching subnetworks. The model is consistent with recent neurophysiological evidence that synchronous activity occurs in the brain and may play a representational role in neural information processing. The model also makes specific psychologically significant predictions about the nature of reflexive reasoning. It identifies constraints on the form of rules that may participate in such reasoning and relates the capacity of the working memory underlying reflexive reasoning to biological parameters such as the lowest frequency at which nodes can sustain synchronous oscillations and the coarseness of synchronization. (shrink)
Kaplan (drawing on Montague and Prior, inter alia) made explicit the idea of world and time neutral propositions, which bear truth values only relative to world and time parameters. There was then a debate over the role of time. Temporalists sided with Kaplan in maintaining time neutral propositions with time relative truth values, while eternalists claimed that all propositions specify the needed time information and so bear the same truth value at all times. But there never was (...) much of a parallel debate over the role of worlds. Let contingentism be the view (parallel to temporalism) that sides with Kaplan in maintaining world neutral propositions with world relative truth values, and let necessitarianism be the view (parallel to eternalism) that propositions specify the needed world information and so bear the same truth value at all worlds. This is the story of how the debate between the contingentists and the necessitarians might begin. (shrink)
Speaks defends the view that propositions are properties: for example, the proposition that grass is green is the property being such that grass is green. We argue that there is no reason to prefer Speaks's theory to analogous but competing theories that identify propositions with, say, 2-adic relations. This style of argument has recently been deployed by many, including Moore and King, against the view that propositions are n-tuples, and by Caplan and Tillman against King's view that (...)propositions are facts of a special sort. We offer our argument as an objection to the view that propositions are unsaturated relations. (shrink)
This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or pastness and do not (...) merely ascribe relations of earlier than or simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light rays, rigid bodies, and the like. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory is commonly thought to pose a challenge for presentism. Presentism seems to lack the ontological and ideological resources required to adequately underwrite the truth of propositions concerning the past. That is because if presentism is true, then the past does not exist. According to the standard response to this challenge, the truth of propositions concerning the past supervenes on surrogate entities that ‘stand proxy’ for past things. I argue that in order for the standard response to (...) the truthmaker challenge to succeed these surrogate entities must stand in necessary connections to the past. I go on to argue that because the standard response is already committed to denying the existence of cross-temporal modal connections of this kind, by its own lights that response is in error.1. (shrink)
Is temporal representation constitutively necessary for perception? Tyler Burge (2010) argues that it is, in part because perception requires a form of memory sufficiently sophisticated as to require temporal representation. I critically discuss Burge’s argument, maintaining that it does not succeed. I conclude by reflecting on the consequences for the origins of temporal representation.
Trenton Merricks presents an original argument for the existence of propositions, and defends an account of their nature. He draws a variety of controversial conclusions, for instance about supervaluationism, the nature of possible worlds, truths about non-existent entities, and whether and how logical consequence depends on modal facts.
In this article we provide a mathematical model of Kant?s temporal continuum that satisfies the (not obviously consistent) synthetic a priori principles for time that Kant lists in the Critique of pure Reason (CPR), the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MFNS), the Opus Postumum and the notes and frag- ments published after his death. The continuum so obtained has some affinities with the Brouwerian continuum, but it also has ‘infinitesimal intervals’ consisting of nilpotent infinitesimals, which capture Kant’s theory of (...) rest and motion in MFNS. While constructing the model, we establish a concordance between the informal notions of Kant?s theory of the temporal continuum, and formal correlates to these notions in the mathematical theory. Our mathematical reconstruction of Kant?s theory of time allows us to understand what ?faculties and functions? must be in place for time to satisfy all the synthetic a priori principles for time mentioned. We have presented here a mathematically precise account of Kant?s transcendental argument for time in the CPR and of the rela- tion between the categories, the synthetic a priori principles for time, and the unity of apperception; the most precise account of this relation to date. We focus our exposition on a mathematical analysis of Kant’s informal terminology, but for reasons of space, most theorems are explained but not formally proven; formal proofs are available in (Pinosio, 2017). The analysis presented in this paper is related to the more general project of developing a formalization of Kant’s critical philosophy (Achourioti & van Lambalgen, 2011). A formal approach can shed light on the most controversial concepts of Kant’s theoretical philosophy, and is a valuable exegetical tool in its own right. However, we wish to make clear that mathematical formalization cannot displace traditional exegetical methods, but that it is rather an exegetical tool in its own right, which works best when it is coupled with a keen awareness of the subtleties involved in understanding the philosophical issues at hand. In this case, a virtuous ?hermeneutic circle? between mathematical formalization and philosophical discourse arises. (shrink)
Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as (...) set-theoretic constructions out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does. (shrink)
Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as the supervenience base for (...) the truth of past-directed propositions. In this paper, I argue that a fundamentally tensed approach to truthmaking is implausible because it requires the existence of cross-temporal supervenience relations, which are anathema to presentism. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the temporal connective prima (‘before’) is a comparative adverb. The argument is based on a number of grammatical facts from Italian, showing that there is an asymmetry between prima and dopo (‘after’). On the ground of their divergent behaviour, I suggest that dopo has a different grammatical status from prima. I propose a semantic treatment for prima that is based on an independently motivated analysis of comparatives which can be traced back to Seuren (...) (in: Kiefer and Ruwet (eds.) Generative grammar in Europe, 1973). Dopo is analyzed instead as an atomic two-place predicate which contributes a binary relation over events to the sentence meaning. The different semantic treatments of the two connectives provide an explanation for the grammatical asymmetries considered at the outset; interestingly, they also shed some light on other asymmetries between prima and dopo, which are known to hold for the English temporal connectives before and after as well: these asymmetries are related to the veridicality properties, the distribution of NPIs, and the logical properties of these connectives first described in Anscombe (Philos Rev 73:3–24, 1964). (shrink)
The nature of temporal experience is typically explained in one of a small number of ways, most are versions of either retentionalism or extensionalism. After describing these, I make a distinction between two kinds of temporal character that could structure temporal experience: A-ish contents are those that present events as structured in past/present/future terms, and B-ish contents are those that present events as structured in earlier-than/later-than/simultaneous-with relations. There are a few exceptions, but most of the literature ignores (...) this distinction, and silently assumes temporal experience is A-ish. I then argue that temporal character is not scale invariant, but rather that temporal experience is A-ish at larger scales, and B-ish at smaller scales. I then point out that this scale non-invariance opens the possibility of hybrid views. I clarify my own view as a hybrid view, according to which temporal experience is B-ish at small scales – and at this scale my trajectory estimation model applies – but A-ish at larger scales, and at the larger scale my TEM does not apply. I then motivate this hybrid position by first defending it against arguments that have tried to show that the TEM is untenable. Since the hybrid view has TEM as its small-scale component, it must address this objection. I then put pressure on the main alternative account, extentionalism, by showing that its proponents have not adequately dealt with the problem of temporal illusions. The result is a new theory motivated by i) explaining its virtues, ii) showing that objections to it can be met, and iii) showing that objections to its main competitors have not been met. (shrink)
Presentists face a familiar problem. If only present objects exist, then what 'makes true' our true claims about the past? According to Ross Cameron, the 'truth-makers' for past and future tensed propositions are presently instantiated Temporal Distributional Properties. We present an argument against Cameron's view. There are two ways that we might understand the term 'distribute' as it appears. On one reading, the resulting properties are not up to the task of playing the truth-maker role; on the other, (...) the properties are incompatible with presentism. (shrink)
It is our contention that an ontological commitment to propositions faces a number of problems; so many, in fact, that an attitude of realism towards propositions—understood the usual “platonistic” way, as a kind of mind- and language-independent abstract entity—is ultimately untenable. The particular worries about propositions that marshal parallel problems that Paul Benacerraf has raised for mathematical platonists. At the same time, the utility of “proposition-talk”—indeed, the apparent linguistic commitment evident in our use of 'that'-clauses (in offering (...) explanations and making predictions)—is also in need of explanation. We account for this with a fictionalist analysis of our use of 'that'-clauses. Our account avoids certain problems that arise for the usual error-theoretic versions of fictionalism because we apply the notion of semantic pretense to develop an alternative, pretense-involving, non-error-theoretic, fictionalist account of proposition-talk. (shrink)
Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct (...) accounts of how propositions represent what they represent. Semantic theorists may move freely between the two conceptions of what propositions are. Nevertheless, the two approaches give different accounts of the metaphysical nature of propositions. I argue that the sets-of-worlds view provides an adequate account of the nature of propositions, whereas the Russellian view cannot. (shrink)
A singular thought about an object o is one that is directly about o in a characteristic way—grasp of that thought requires having some special epistemic relation to the object o, and the thought is ontologically dependent on o. One account of the nature of singular thought exploits a Russellian Structured Account of Propositions, according to which contents are represented by means of structured n-tuples of objects, properties, and functions. A proposition is singular, according to this framework, if and (...) only if it contains an object as a constituent. One advantage of the framework of Russellian Structured propositions is that it promises to provide a metaphysical basis for the notion of a singular thought about an object, grounding it in terms of constituency. In this paper, we argue that the attempt to ground the peculiar features of singular thoughts in terms of metaphysical constituency fails, and draw some consequences of our discussion for other debates. (shrink)
Do Russellian propositions have their constituents as parts? One reason for thinking not is that if they did, they would generate apparent counterexamples to plausible mereological principles. As Frege noted, they would be in tension with the transitivity of parthood. A certain small rock is a part of Etna but not of the proposition that Etna is higher than Vesuvius. So, if Etna were a part of the given proposition, parthood would fail to be transitive. As William Bynoe has (...) noted (speaking of facts rather than propositions), they would seem to violate certain supplementation principles. Consider the singular proposition, concerning identity, that it is identical with itself. Given the relevant form of Russellianism, this proposition would have identity as a proper part, but it would not have any parts disjoint from identity, and indeed it would not have even a single pair of disjoint parts, in violation of various supplementation principles. This chapter offers a unified solution to the problems about transitivity and supplementation. One key ingredient in the solution is the view that parthood is a four-place relation expressed by ‘x at y is a part of z at w’. Another key ingredient is the view that the semantic contents of predicates and sentential connectives have ‘slots’ or ‘argument positions’ in them. (Both ingredients are independently motivated elsewhere.) Four-place analogues of the transitivity and supplementation principles are set out, and it is argued that these are not threatened by the examples from Frege and Bynoe. (shrink)