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Formal Properties of ‘Now’

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Chapter Summary

This paper is about the word 'now'. It is closely related to the article "Now" by professor A. N. Prior (1968). In that article Prior gives an extensive, and undoubtedly correct analysis of the semantical function of the word 'now' in ordinary discourse. This paper gives a short informal discussion of the behaviour of 'now' in English. In this paper, the professor nonetheless consider besides 'now' only operators of a purely temporal nature. The results presented in this paper apply to arbitrary axiom systems. The word 'now' may suggest that, even if the word is not vacuous, its semantical behaviour is too simple to justify a formal analysis. However, it turns out that a proper treatment of 'now' together with the other temporal operators which is not totally trivial, as the semantics developed earlier for these operators cannot be extended in an entirely automatic manner so as to cover 'now'.

Keywords:axiom systems; formal properties; now



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