- Series: Bradford Books
- Hardcover: 276 pages
- Publisher: A Bradford Book; New ed. edition (October 29, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262122197
- ISBN-13: 978-0262122191
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,185,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language New ed. Edition
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"A notable work in many respects, with an extremely interestingdiscussion of the prospects for giving the semantics of tense in atensed metalanguage. Semantics, Tense, and Time exemplifies therecent, very productive, evolution of the philosophy of language, withits characteristic amalgam of linguistics, metaphysics, and logic." James Higginbotham , Professor of General Linguistics, University of Oxford
About the Author
Peter Ludlow, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, is the author of "Semantics, Tense, and Time: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language" (MIT Press, 1999), among other books, and the editor of "Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias" (MIT Press, 2001) and "High Noon on the Electronic Frontier" (MIT Press, 1996).
Top customer reviews
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.