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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 38, 2018

Philosophy and Linguistics

Dan Zeman
Pages 51-55
DOI: 10.5840/wcp23201838829

Temporal Variadic Operators

In this paper I introduce and develop an approach to tenses and temporal expressions that is a mix between eternalism and temporalism consisting in appeal to ‘variadic operators’ (Recanati, 2002). The type of variadic operator I will be concerned with is the expansive variadic operator, which takes as input predicates of a certain adicity and yields new predicates with one additional degree of adicity. Appeal to variadic operators has proven useful in giving the semantics of several types of expressions: adverbs (McCon-nell-Ginet (1982)), prepositional phrases (Keenan and Faltz (1985)), relational terms (Barwise (1988)), etc. The focus of this paper is on tenses and temporal expressions, with the aim of showing how these are treated by appeal to temporal variadic operators. First I define the temporal variadic operator and then show how it can be used to account for simple tensed sentences (such as ‘Soc-rates sits’, ‘Socrates was sitting’ and ‘Socrates will sit’). I also give a rough sketch of how it can accommodate more complex phenomena like sequence of time, interaction between tenses and temporal adverbials, temporal anaphora, later-than-matrix and double-access readings, etc.