Tense, Indexicality, and Consequence

James Higginbotham

in The Arguments of Time

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263464
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734748 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

Tense, Indexicality, and Consequence

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This chapter outlines the problem of framing a theory of the temporal indicators of natural language in all their complexity and, in particular, of understanding the interaction of linguistic and contextual elements. It describes how the phenomenon of sequence of tense shows that tense logic is too limited, since it excludes the cross-reference typical of bound variables; it suggests instead that the tenses express temporal relations between events conceived as in Davidson. The particular discussion leads to the general question of the form of truth conditions for sentences in an indexical language. The discussion advocates conditional truth conditions, in which an antecedent clause spells out the import of the indexical elements. It goes on to describe two notions of a model for a language with such truth conditions, the notions varying as to whether the satisfaction of such antecedents is incorporated, and thus diverging in their conceptions of logical consequence.

Keywords: temporal indicators; natural language; indexical language; truth conditions; tense logic

Chapter.  7323 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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