, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 257-279

Tense And Temporal Semantics

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Abstract

Tenseless theories of time entail that earlierthan, later than and simultaneous with (i.e.,McTaggart's `B-series') are the only temporalproperties exemplified by events. Such theories oftencome under attack for being unable to satisfactorilyaccount for tensed language. In this essay I arguethat tenseless theories of time are capable of twofeats that critics, such as Quentin Smith, argue arebeyond their grasp: (1) They can coherently explainthe impossibility of translating all tensed sentencesby tenseless counterparts; (2) They can account forcertain obviously valid entailment relations betweentensed sentence types. In analyzing tensed entailmentrelations tenselessly, I favor a date analysis oftensed language over a token-reflexive theory. Theupshot is that tenseless theories of time are notundermined by the linguistic facts.