LINGUIST List 13.3272

Wed Dec 11 2002

Books: Linguistic Theories: Smith

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  1. bartonm, Language and Time: Smith

Message 1: Language and Time: Smith

Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 14:13:49 +0000
From: bartonm <>
Subject: Language and Time: Smith

Title: Language and Time
Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press		 
Book URL:
Author: Quentin Smith, Western Michigan University 

Paperback: ISBN: 0195155947, Pages: 272 pp, Price: $ 24.95

This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of
the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is
absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he
shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the
nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties
of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they
ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or
pastness and do not merely ascribe relations of earlier than or
simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds
that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property
of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of
reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed
theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive
significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of
Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for
absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist
in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are
reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and
relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light
rays, rigid bodies, and the like.

Lingfield(s): Linguistic Theories
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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