No longer trueReport as inadecuate

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1 Ruhr-Universität Bochum Bochum 2 CLLE-ERSS - Cognition, Langues, Langage, Ergonomie

Abstract : There are sentences that express the same temporally fully specified proposition at all contexts-call them -context-insensitive, temporally specific sentences.- Sentence 1 -Obama was born in 1961- is a case in point: at all contexts, it expresses the proposition ascribing to the year 1961 the property of being a time in which Obama was born. Suppose that someone uttered 1 in a context located on Christmas 2000 in our world. In this context, 1 is a true sentence about the past. Moreover, it seems impossible that 1 will be false in a successive context one located, say, on Christmas 2020 in our world. More generally, one might be tempted to endorse the following principle: if a context-insensitive, temporally specific sentence is uttered in a context and takes a certain truth value in this context, it cannot be the case that it takes a different truth value in a successive context located in the same world. In this paper, we present linguistic evidence that shows that this principle fails. On this basis, we draw an apparently crazy conclusion: the past can change. We then explain why this conclusion is not that crazy, after all.

Keywords : truth persistence metaphysics of time past context time adverbs institutional facts

Author: Luca Barlassina - Fabio Del Prete -



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