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TimeLanguage, Cognition, and Reality$
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Kasia M. Jaszczolt and Louis de Saussure

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199589876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589876.001.0001

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Temporality and epistemic commitment: an unresolved question

Temporality and epistemic commitment: an unresolved question

(p.193) 9 Temporality and epistemic commitment: an unresolved question

Kasia M. Jaszczolt

Oxford University Press

The thesis of the modal supervenience of temporality was presented in Representing Time (Jaszczolt 2009), and was well supported by theoretical arguments and by evidence from various languages. It also easily yielded to a Default-Semantic (DS, Jaszczolt 2005) formal analysis; however, there remained an important Unresolved Question (UQ), concerning the translatability of what intuitively seems to be a qualitative difference between the past, the present and the future into quantitative differences, that is, in the DS-terms, differences represented as the ‘delta index’ on the acceptability operator (ACCΔ). In this chapter I present two possible answers to the UQ: that (i) the differences between P, N, and F are underlyingly quantitative rather than qualitative (which I call the Direct-Quantitative View, DQ), and that (ii) the differences are qualitative and the value of modal detachment (Δ) is contextually established (the Modal-Contextualist View, MC). Next, I focus on the DQ view and assess its compatibility with the tensed and tenseless theories of time, concluding that both uphold it. Finally, I argue that the MC view is also tenable as an answer to the UQ, and is independently supported by cross-linguistic data. I conclude with some remarks on conceptual and naturalistic reductionism.

Keywords:   epistemic modality, modal supervenience, Default Semantics, Direct-Quantitative View, Modal-Contextualist View, reductionism

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