Temporal Logic pp 138-154 | Cite as

Temporally Conditioned Descriptions and the Concept of Temporal Purity

Part of the LEP Library of Exact Philosophy book series (LEP, volume 3)


It is a commonplace fact that an event, state of affairs, or object is never to be described only by means of some one single and unique description: there must inevitably be a multiplicity of distinct descriptions (both definite and indefinite descriptions) which describe or single out the same thing. Given a pair of definite descriptions D1 and D2 such that what is referred to by the description D1 — the descriptum of D1 — is the same as or identical with the descriptum of D2, it is well known that such an inference as the following fails:

Smith believes that —D1—; therefore

Smith believes that —D2—.


Definite Description Logical Truth Temporal Juncture Complete Inventory Essential Reference 
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  1. 1.
    Critique of Pure Reason, A 31/B 47; tr. By N.K. Smith (New York, 1929), p. 75.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See E. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen, Pt.3, vol. I (5th ed., Leipzig, 1923); and Benson Mates, Stoic Logic (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1953), see esp. pp. 36–41.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    I. M. Bochenski, La logique de Théophraste (Freiburg, 1947).Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    For the Megarian and Stoic theories see N. Rescher, Truth and Necessity in Temporal Perspective, in idem, Essays in Philosophical Analysis (Pittsburgh, 1969)Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    For a detailed account of this theory see N. Rescher, Avicenna on the Logic of “Conditional” Propositions, in: Studies in the History of Arabic Logic (Pittsburgh, 1963), pp. 76–86Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    I. M. Bochenski, Notes historiques sur les propositions modales (Quebec, 1951), p. 7.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    Hans Reichenbach, Elements of Symbolic Logic (New York, 1947).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PittsburghUSA

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