The Tenseless Copula in Temporal Predication
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In this paper I explore how the tenseless copula is to be interpreted in sentences of the form “a is F at t”, where “a” denotes a persisting, changeable object, “F” stands for a prima facie intrinsic property and “t” for a B-time. I argue that the interpretation of the copula depends on the logical role assigned to the time clause. Having rejected the idea that the time clause is to be treated as a sentence operator, I argue: (1) that if “at t” is thought of as being associated with “a” or “F”, then the tenseless copula is most plausibly read as an “is” simpliciter; and (2) that if “at t” is treated as being associated with the copula, then the tenseless copula is most plausibly understood as expressing a disjunction of tensed copulas. I end the paper by explaining the importance of the issue. I indicate the ramifications interpretation of the tenseless copula has for the so-called problem of temporary intrinsics.