Time and Modality

Ulrich Meyer

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199298204
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728372 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Time and Modality

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This chapter discusses modal logic: the logic of possibility and necessity. After a brief review of modal logic in the second section, the third section presents basic results of propositional tense logic. The fourth section develops a system of quantified tense logic. With these technical preliminaries out of the way, the fifth section explains why tense logic ultimately fails as a linguistic theory of verb tense. The sixth section presents the main objection to tense primitivism: that tense logic has insufficient expressive resources to serve as a metaphysical theory of time. The seventh section argues that the tense primitivist can overcome these problems by treating times as maximally consistent sets of sentences. The eighth section discusses a key difference between time and modality: the lack of a temporal analogue of actualism.

Keywords: eternal time; modal logic; propositional tense logic; actualism; linguistic theory

Article.  15436 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Language

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