Transient Truths: An Essay in the Metaphysics of Propositions

ISBN : 9780199796908

Berit Brogaard
208 Pages
164 x 241 mm
Pub date
May 2012
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What are the things that we assert, believe, and desire? The orthodox view among philosophers is eternalism: these are contents that have their truth-values eternally. Transient Truths provides the first book-length exposition and defense of the opposing view, temporalism: these are contents that can change their truth-values along with changes in the world. Berit Brogaard argues that temporal contents are contents and propositions in the full sense. This project involves a thorough analysis of how we talk about and retain mental states over time, an examination of how the phenomenology of mental states bear on the content of mental states, an analysis of how we pass on information in temporally extended conversations, and a revival of a Priorian tense logic. The view suggests a broader view according to which some types of representation have a determinate truth-value only relative to features about the subject who does the representing. If this view is right, successful semantic representation requires an eye on our own position in the world.


1. Characterizing Temporalism
1.1. Times in Propositions vs. Time Neutrality
1.2. Truth Conditions
1.3. Temporal Propositions are Truth-Evaluable
1.4. Signpost
2. Reporting Belief
2.1. The Classical Objections
2.2. Recent Debate
2.3. Temporalism and Belief Reports
2.4. Temporalism and Belief Retention
2.5. Belief De Se
2.6. The Argument from Belief Retention
2.7. The Accident
2.8. Signpost
3: Disagreeing Across Time
3.1. Passing on Information across Time
3.2. Arguments from Disagreement against Temporalism
3.3. Signpost
4. Representing Time
4.1. The Time Analysis and Temporalism
4.2. The Event Analysis
4.3. The Empirical Evidence against Traditional Tense Logic
4.4. Time Adverbials
4.5. Composite Tense Operators
4.6. Span operators
4.7. The Ellipsis Theory
4.8. The Temporal Anaphora Hypothesis
4.9. The Counter Evidence Explained
4.10. Signpost
5. Reviving Priorian Tense Logic
5.1. The SOT Rule
5.2. Later-Than-Matrix Interpretations and Kamp/Vlach Sentences
5.3. The PTQ Fragment
5.4. Partee Sentences
5.5. Pragmatic Rules for Noun Denotation
5.6. Double Access Sentences
5.7. Location Operators
5.8. Signpost
6. Embedding under Tense Operators
6.1. Kaplan's Argument
6.2. Objections to Kaplan's Argument
6.3. The Redundancy of the Present Tense
6.4. An Argument against Quantifier Analyses
6.5. Signpost
7. Representing Eternally
7.1. Two Kinds of Content
7.2. Past- and Future-Tensed Sentences
7.3. Conjoined Propositions
7.4. Two Kinds of Propositions
7.5. Eternal Propositions and Metaphysical Eternalism
7.6. Signpost
8. Representing the World Egocentrically
8.1. C & H's Main Argument against Relativism
8.2. The Argument from Perception
8.3. Non-Indexical Contextualism
8.4. Temporalism Defended
8.5. Signpost
Closing Remarks

About the author: 

Dr. Berit Brogaard, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at University of Missouri, St. Louis, has written since 1999 for publications such as Journal of Philosophy, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and Consciousness and Cognition. In her academic research she specializes in visual perception and semantics. From 2007 to 2009 she was a research fellow at the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University. She has a medical degree in neuroscience from the Danish National Hospital and the University of Copenhagen and a Ph.D. in philosophy from State University of New York.

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