, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 281–296 | Cite as

Time, Context, and Cross-Temporal Claims

  • Giuliano TorrengoEmail author


I present a new problem for the tense realist concerning the evaluation of cross-temporal claims, such as ‘John is now taller than Michael was in 1984’. Time can play two different roles in the evaluation of an utterance of a sentence: either as an element that completes the content expressed by the utterance (the completion role), or as part of the circumstances against which the content is evaluated (the evaluation role). It is this latter role that time plays in the realist view of tenses. I argue that if the content of a cross-temporal sentence is taken at face value (as an ascription of a crosstemporally instantiated relation), time does not play the evaluation role. Therefore, the world of the tense realist seems to leave no room for cross-temporality.


Cross-temporality Tense realism Tense logic Perspective McTaggart 


  1. Bigelow, J. (1996). Presentism and properties. In J. E. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical perspectives (10th ed., pp. 35–52). Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Bourne, C. (2006). A future for presentism. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brogaard, B. (2006). Tensed relations. Analysis, 66(3), 194–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Craig, W. L. (2000). The tensed theory of time: A critical examination. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  5. Crisp, T. (2005). Presentism and ‘cross-time’ relations. American Philosophical Quarterly, 42, 5–17.Google Scholar
  6. Crisp, T. (2007). Presentism and the grounding objection. Noûs, 41, 90–109.Google Scholar
  7. Dorato, M. (2006). The irrelevance of the presentism/eternalism debate for the ontology of Minkowski spacetime. In D. Dieks (Ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime (pp. 93–109). Elsevier.Google Scholar
  8. Dummett, M. (1978). The reality of the past. In M. Dummett (Ed.), Truth and other enigmas. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fine, K. (2001) The Question of Realism, Philosophers’ Imprint (; also in A. Bottani, M. Carrara, E. Giaretta (Eds.), Individuals, Essence, and Identity, Springer, 2002.
  10. Fine, K. (2006). Tense and reality. In K. Fine (Ed.), Modality and tense. Philosophical papers (pp. 261–320). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  11. Hawley, K. (2001). How things persist. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  12. Hinchliff, M. (1996). The puzzle of change. In J. E. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical perspectives (10th ed., pp. 119–136).Google Scholar
  13. Horwich, P. (2007). The quest for REALITY. Dialectica, 61(1), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kamp, H., & Reyle, U. (1993). From discourse to logic. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, D. (1989). Demonstratives. In J. Almog, J. Perry & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Themes from Kaplan. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. King, J. (2007). The nature and structure of content. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. King, J. (2002). Two sorts of claims about ‘logical form’. In G. Preyer & G. Peter (Eds.), Logical form and language (pp. 118–131). Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  18. Lepoidevin, R. (ed). (1998). Questions of time and tense. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  19. Lewis, D. (2004). Tensed quantifiers. In Zimmermann Dean (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (pp. 3–14). Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  20. Ludlow, P. (1999). Semantics, tense, and time: An essay in the metaphysics of natural language. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  21. Markosian, N. (2004). A defense of presentism. In D. Zimmerman (Ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics I (pp. 47–82).Google Scholar
  22. McTaggart, J. M. E. (1908). The unreality of time. Mind, 17, 457–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Merricks, T. (1999). Persistence, parts, and presentism. Nous, 33(3), 421–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Neale, S. (2001). Facing facts. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oaklander, N., & Smith, Q. (eds). (1994). The new theory of time. New Heaven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Partee, B. H. (1973). Some structural analogies between tenses and pronouns in English. Journal of Philosophy, 70, 601–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Partee, B. H. (1984). Nominal and temporal anaphora. Linguistics and Philosophy, 3, 243–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Prior, A. N. (1968). “Tense logic and the logic of the earlier and later”, in Papers on Time and Tense. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  29. Priest, G. (1986). Tense and truth-conditions. Analysis, 46(4), 162–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Recanati, F. (2007). Perspectival thoughts. A plea for (moderate) relativism. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  31. Reichenbach H. (1947). Elements of symbolic logic. University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  32. Richard, M. (1981). Temporalism and eternalism. Philosophical Studies, 39, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Salmon, N. (2005). Reference and essence (Second Edition), with new appendices. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  34. Sider, T. (1999). Presentism and ontological Commitment. The Journal of Philosophy, 96(7), 325–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sider, T. (2001). Four-dimensionalism. An ontology of persistence and time. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  36. Sattig, T. (2006). The language and reality of time. Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Szabò, Z. G. (2007). Counting Across Time. Philosophical Perspectives. Metaphysics, 20, 399–426.Google Scholar
  38. Tooley, M. (1997). Time, tense, and causation. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  39. Torrengo, G. (2006). Tenseless cross-temporal relations. Metaphysica, 7(2), 117–129.Google Scholar
  40. Torrengo, G. (2008). Tensed time vs. tensed truth-makers. In G. Bonino & R. Egidi (Eds.), Proceedings of “Fostering the Ontological Turn, Gustav Bergmann 1906–1987” (pp. 253–260). Frankfurt: Ontos.Google Scholar
  41. Van Inwagen, P. (2000). Temporal Parts and Identity Across Time, The Monist 83/3: 437–459 and in Id. (2001) Ontology, Identity, and Modality. Essays in Metaphysics (pp. 122–143). Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar
  42. Yablo, S. (1998). Does ontology rest on a mistake? Preceedings of the Aristotelian Society, XX, 229–260.Google Scholar
  43. Zimmermann, D. (2005). The A-theory of time, The B-theory of time, and ‘taking tense seriously’. Dialectica, 59(4), 401–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, University of TurinTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations