Time, context, and cross-temporal claims

Philosophia 38 (2):281-296 (2010)
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Abstract
I present a new problem for the tense realist concerning the evaluation of cross-temporal claims, such as ‘John is now taller than Michael was in 1984’. Time can play two different roles in the evaluation of an utterance of a sentence: either as an element that completes the content expressed by the utterance (the completion role), or as part of the circumstances against which the content is evaluated (the evaluation role). It is this latter role that time plays in the realist view of tenses. I argue that if the content of a cross-temporal sentence is taken at face value (as an ascription of a crosstemporally instantiated relation), time does not play the evaluation role. Therefore, the world of the tense realist seems to leave no room for cross-temporality.
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