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Ludlow P. — Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language
Ludlow P. — Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language

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Название: Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language

Автор: Ludlow P.

Аннотация:

In this book, Ludlow develops a semantic argument for presentism, the austere version of the A-theory according to which nothing but the present exists. He claims that neither physical theory nor a priori metaphysics can settle the question of whether pastness, presentness, and futurity are objective features of the world, and so turns to the semantics of tense to settle the issue. Ludlow's thesis is that, since natural language is irreducibly tensed, time must be tensed, too.

Ludlow argues that only presentism can handle the indexical character of temporal discourse. He offers versions Smith's, Craig's, and Prior's arguments against the token-reflexive semantics, which was defended by most B-theorists until the 1980's. He also defends presentism against the objection that it cannot account for reference to past and future, by developing a theory of E-type temporal anaphora. He treats past statements as evidentials and future statements as modals, thus committing himself only to presently existing things.

Ludlow's theory is highly original and his book is worth reading for anyone interested in tense and time. However, it has several major shortcomings. The most glaring problem is that he never bothers to argue for the crucial premise that the world tracks semantics, nor even specify how semantics can provide information unavailable from other domains. Second, he engages in vague hand-waving at many crucial points, for instance, in the section arguing against the new theory of time. Third, his linguistic evidence is often dubious. Finally, the book is full of stylistic infelicities and typographical and factual errors. For instance, he assumes that presentism is the same thing as the A-theory, when in fact it is only one version of the A-theory. The book's many errors make it unnecessarily confusing.

Despite these criticisms, the book is a valuable contribution to the philosophy of language and the metaphysics of time. In particular, Ludlow's theory of E-type temporal anaphora and his unique version of presentism deserve serious consideration.



Язык: en

Статус предметного указателя: Неизвестно

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Год издания: 1999

Количество страниц: 252

Добавлена в каталог: 21.05.2014

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