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Tense and the New B-Theory of Language


New B-Theorists of language, while conceding the untranslatability of tensed sentences by tenseless sentences, deny that the ineliminability of tense implies the reality of tensed facts. Thus, New BTheorist Nathan Oaklander explains,

For a variety of reasons, ... recent defenders of the tenseless view have come to embrace the thesis that tensed sentences cannot be translated by tenseless ones without loss of meaning. Nevertheless, recent detensers have denied that the ineliminability of tensed language and thought entails the reality of temporal properties. ... Tensed discourse is indeed necessary for timely action, but tensed facts are not, since the truth conditions of tensed sentences can be expressed in a tenseless meta-language that describes unchanging temporal relations between and among events.

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L. Nathan Oaklander , ‘A Defense of the New Tenseless Theory of Time,’ Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1991), 2627.

L. Nathan Oaklander , ‘The New Tenseless Theory of Time: a Reply to Smith,’ Philosophical Studies 58 (1990), 288.

D. H. Mellor , ‘Tense's Tenseless Truth Conditions,’ Analysis 46 (1986): 167172;

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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