Cross-World Identity, Temporal Quantifiers and the Question of Tensed Contents

  • Tero TulenheimoEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 373)


The use of temporal constructions in many-world settings calls for an analysis of what it means to speak of the same time over a number of scenarios. I argue that instants in two worlds can be compared for identity only in terms of temporal world lines. Times must be construed as such world lines, as links between instants in distinct worlds. I formulate a logical framework in which temporal quantifiers range over world lines, and show that the framework allows to represent truth-conditions of a large variety of sentences involving temporal expressions. I take propositional contents to be structures Open image in new window with two independent components: a temporal world line \(\mathfrak{t}\) and a function f from worlds to truth-values (a proposition). My framework allows me to distinguish two modes of temporal individuation: physical and intentional. I propose to reconstruct the A-theorist’s ‘tensed contents’ as contents whose world line component is an intentionally individuated time, and I take B-theorists to hold that only physically individuated times are needed when accounting for the semantics of temporal language. My analysis avoids the A-theorist’s metaphysical conclusions: we are not committed to any ontological correlates of grammatical tenses. My view goes against the B-theory too: both intentionally and physically individuated times are needed for formulating the semantics of temporal expressions.


Propositional Content Temporal Indexical World Line Modal Setting Sentence Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Anscombe, G.E.M. 1965. The intentionality of sensation: A grammatical feature. In Analytical philosophy, ed. R.J. Butler, 2nd series, 158–180. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Areces, C., and B. ten Cate. 2007. Hybrid logics. In Handbook of modal logic, ed. P. Blackburn, J. van Benthem, and F. Wolter, 821–868. Amsterdam: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Broad, C.D. 1938. An examination of McTaggart’s philosophy, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chalmers, D. 1996. The conscious mind. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chisholm, R.M. 1967. Identity through possible worlds: Some questions. Noûs 1(1): 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Craig, W.L. 1996. The new B-theory’s tu quoque argument. Synthese 107(2): 249–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Craig, W.L. 2000. The tensed theory of time: A critical examination. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dyke, H. 2002. Tokens, dates and tenseless truth conditions. Synthese 131(3): 329–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Frege, G. 1892. Über Sinn und Bedeutung. Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik 100: 25–50.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Frege, G. 1918. Der Gedanke. Eine Logische Untersuchung. Beiträge zur Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus, (1918–1919) I: 58–77.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geach, P.T. 1979. Truth, love and immortality: An introduction to McTaggart’s philosophy. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hawley, K. 2001. How things persist. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hintikka, J. 1969. Models for modalities. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hintikka, J. 1975. The intentions of intentionality and other new models for modalities. Dordrecht: Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hintikka, J. 2006. Intellectual autobiography and replies to the contributors. In The philosophy of Jaakko Hintikka, The library of living philosophers, vol. 30, ed. R.E. Auxier and L.E. Hahn. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hintikka, J., and G. Sandu. 1995. The fallacies of the New Theory of Reference. Synthese 104(2): 245–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hornstein, N. 1990. As time goes by: Tense and universal grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jackson, F. 1998. From metaphysics to ethics: A defence of conceptual analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kamp, H. 1971. Formal properties of ‘now’. Theoria 37(3): 227–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kaplan, D. 1979. On the logic of demonstratives. Journal of Philosophical Logic 8(1): 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kaplan, D. 1989. Demonstratives. An essay in the semantics, logic, metaphysics and epistemology of demonstratives and other indexicals. In Themes from Kaplan, ed. J. Almog, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein, 481–564. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lewis, D.K. 1979. Attitudes de dicto and de se. Philosophical Review 88(4): 513–543.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lewis, D.K. 1983. Philosophical papers, vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lewis, D.K. 1986. Philosophical papers, vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lewis, D.K. 1986. On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    McTaggart, J. 1908. The unreality of time. Mind 17(68): 457–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mellor, D.H. 1981. Real time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mellor, D.H. 1998. Real time II. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Mozersky, J.M. 2000. Tense and temporal semantics. Synthese 124(2): 257–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mozersky, J.M. 2001. Smith on times and tokens. Synthese 129(3): 405–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Oaklander, L.N. 1990. The New tenseless theory of time: A reply to Smith. Philosophical Studies 58(3): 287–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Oaklander, L.N. 1991. A defense of the New tenseless theory of time. The Philosophical Quarterly 41(162): 26–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Oaklander, L.N. 1996. McTaggart’s paradox and Smith’s tensed theory of time. Synthese 107(2): 205–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Oaklander, L.N. 2008. Be careful what you wish for: A reply to Craig. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76(1): 156–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Oaklander, L.N. 2012. A-, B- and R-theories of time: A debate. In The future of the philosophy of time, ed. A. Bardon, 1–24. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Paul, L.A. 1997. Truth conditions of tensed sentence types. Synthese 111(1): 53–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Perry, J. 1977. Frege on demonstratives. Philosophical Review 86(4): 474–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Perry, J. 1979. The problem of the essential indexical. Noûs 13(1): 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Plantinga, A. 1974. The nature of necessity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Prior, A. 1957. Time and modality. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Prior, A. 1967. Past, present and future. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Quine, W.V.O. 1953. Reference and modality. In From a logical point of view, 139–159. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Quine, W.V.O. 1960. Word and object. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Quine, W.V.O. 1969. Propositional objects. In Ontological relativity and other essays, 139–160. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Rebuschi, M. 2013. Etudes logiques et philosophiques de la rationalité dans l’interaction, vol. 3. Questions d’attitudes—Essai de philosophie formelle sur l’intentionnalité, habilitation thesis, University of Lille 3.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Reichenbach, H. 1947. Elements of symbolic logic. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Richard, M. 1981. Temporalism and eternalism. Philosophical Studies 39(1): 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Russell, B. 1906. Review of Symbolic logic and its applications by Hugh MacColl. Mind 15(58): 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Russell, B. 1940. An inquiry into meaning and truth. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Salmon, N. 1989. Tense and singular propositions. In Themes from Kaplan, ed. J. Almog, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein, 331–392. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Sider, T. 1996. All the world’s a stage. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74(3): 433–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Smart, J.J.C. 1962. ‘Tensed statements’: A comment. The Philosophical Quarterly 12(48): 264–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Smart, J.J.C. 1963. Philosophy and scientific realism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Smith, Q. 1987. Problems with the New tenseless theory of time. Philosophical Studies 52(3): 371–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Smith, Q. 1993. Language and time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Stalnaker, R.C. 1978. Assertion. Syntax and Semantics 9: 315–332.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Tulenheimo, T. 2009. Remarks on individuals in modal contexts. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 63(250): 383–394.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Wettstein, H. 1986. Has semantics rested on a mistake? Journal of Philosophy 83(4): 185–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.STL-CNRS and Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Lille 3, Domaine Universitaire du “Pont de Bois”Villeneuve d’AscqFrance

Personalised recommendations