Handout for Cornell Seminar on Tense and Time – Please ask for permission before citing!Available online at :<http://mi...
Tense in Conditionals               ()          If John loves Mary, he has a funny way of showing it.More examples:()  ...
antecedent indicates that in these cases the predictability of the antecedent is what   is being supposed. We are saying s...
Tense in Conditionals                        • Ippolito [, ], von Stechow []: (optional!) covert FUT inside if -cla...
Tense in Conditionals               What is the PAST doing?Possible Analyses:       • No rhyme or reason       • Different...
Tense in Conditionals                 . Counterfactuals are Simply Past ConditionalsWe thus get the idea that counterfa...
Tense in Conditionals                   ()         [We are watching a black earth-to-sky pillar of cloud approaching yo...
Tense in Conditionals                       Mismatched Two Past ConditionalsIppolito [, ] draws attention to counter...
Tense in Conditionals      Incomplete Bibliography[] A, Dorit: . “Generalizing Tense Semantics for Future Conte...
Tense in Conditionals         [] G, Alan: . “Two Recent Theories of Conditionals.” In [], pages     –...
Tense in Conditionals       [] O, Toshiyuki: . “Counterfactuals, Temporal Adverbs, and Associa-     tion wit...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Cornell.tense

229

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
229
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Cornell.tense

  1. 1. Handout for Cornell Seminar on Tense and Time – Please ask for permission before citing!Available online at :<http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf>Contact: Kai von Fintel, fintel@mit.edu Tense in Conditionals∗ Kai von Fintel (MIT) Cornell Seminar on Tense and Time – April , Something of a Plan • Paradise: Nothing to Say • Indicatives Seem Simple • The Future Tense Oddity • Subjunctives • Is PAST Past? If so, what is it the Past of? • Upping the Ante: Two Layers of Past • The Benefits of Watching ESPN Simplicity: IndicativesGibbard [], Dudman [passim]: Tense in “indicative” conditionals is simply tense inthe two component sentences, interpreted the usual way.Examples from Bennett []:() [We were wondering whether Charles had doused the camp fire and I still do not know whether he had.] If he had doused the fire, he had been very quiet about it.() [I do not know whether it was Charles who made the anonymous gift.] If it was, I have misread his character.∗ These are preliminary notes for a future chapter of a book I am writing, which is going to be a linguisticguide to conditionals. I would be appreciate all the help I can get. I already have Sabine Iatridou andMichela Ippolito to thank, who both know much more about tense and tense in conditionals than I willever know. I also need to acknowledge my admiration for Jonathan Bennett and his amazingly nutritiousPhilosophical Guide to Conditionals. Lastly, when I was writing my dissertation, Roger Higgins urged meto study the works of Vic Dudman, where I learned a lot – among other things what a scarily complextopic this is. 
  2. 2. Tense in Conditionals () If John loves Mary, he has a funny way of showing it.More examples:() If the ship leaves at am tomorrow, you should pack now.How come indicatives are so simple, tense-wise? • Lewis-Kratzer Thesis: the if -clause serves as the restriction to a modal quanti- fier over worlds (Lewis [], Kratzer [, ]). • Indicative conditionals are epistemic conditionals: the if -clause restricts an epistemic modal (see Nolan [] for a recent defense of the epistemic condi- tional analysis of indicatives). • Epistemic modals do not mess with the time reference of their complements: () a. He arrives at am tomorrow. b. He must arrive at am tomorrow. • Bare indicative conditionals involve a covert epistemic modal, which messes even less with the time reference of its complement. The Future Tense Oddity() If he arrives on time, the seminar will start at pm.() #He arrives on time.() If he is here tomorrow, the seminar will take place.() #He is here tomorrow.Not all will-conditional involve the funny future reading of the present tense in theif -clause:() If he loves her, then he will marry her. [Thomason & Gupta []]See also this example from Kaufmann []:() [Let’s wait for today’s decision regarding his travel arrangements.] Then, If he arrives tomorrow, we’ll book his room tonight.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  3. 3. antecedent indicates that in these cases the predictability of the antecedent is what is being supposed. We are saying something like ‘If we can now predict that she will get the letter tomorrow, . . . ’. And as it is rather unusual to say such a thing unless you actually can predict it, these are quite naturally read as though the speaker actually accepts the antecedent. Trying these out on people, I have had the reaction ‘That isn’t really a conditional at all—you might as well have said ‘As she will get the letter tomorrow anyway . . . ’. They tend to belong to what I described above as a rather marginal and untypical kind of conditional. Dudman and his followers have said that the words that follow ‘If ’ in, e.g. ‘If it Tense in Conditionals  rains tomorrow’ or ‘If England lose tomorrow’ do not make a sentence, because of the tense oddity (and thus have been wrongly construed by philosophers). IWedisagree: ‘It rains tomorrow’in the if -clause: tomorrow’ are sentences, though, can also have other tenses and ‘England lose given the nature of the weather and games, not sentences for which we have much() unattached on an ‘if’. he will belose tomorrow’ could be used by someone who use If he left to time, ‘England here by pm. has fixed the game in advance, or as a statement about what happens in tomorrow’sEdgington of a soap operathat has written. ‘It rains tomorrow at six’ could be said to a episode [] suggests he there is nothing odd going on: newcomer to an equatorial climate where rain is as regular as clockwork, who had been planning his day. So I think there is an innocent explanation of the tense oddity: in ‘If it rains tomorrow . . . ’ we hypothetically (hence the if ) take as a datum about the future (hence the present tense) that it rains tomorrow. This syntactic feature does not indicate a distinct semantic kind of conditional thought. It is a consequence of (1) the more general phenomenon of present-tense future reference (‘The sun sets at 7.03 tomorrow’); and (2) the nature of suppositions. School of PhilosophySome kind of Sequence of Tense? Birkbeck, University of London() He will say that he is on time. References() The seminar will start after he arrives. (not: after he will arrive) Adams, E.W. 1965: ‘A Logic of Conditionals’. Inquiry, 8, 166–97.()Adams, E.W. 1966:will start before he arrives.of conditionals.he will arrive) J. and The seminar Probability and the logic (not: before In Hintikka, Suppes, P. (eds.) Aspects of Inductive Logic. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 256–316.() We will wait until he arrives. (not: until he will arrive) # Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003() Everyone who arrives on time gets/will get a free cookie.But how can the will in the conditional have scope over the if -clause?Other ideas: • Enç [] builds future shift into the modal, affecting both the if -clause and the matrix clause • Kaufmann [] reminds us of an example from Crouch []: () If I smile when I get out, the interview went well. Also: () Take a small ball of dough and drop it in a glass of water. If it floats, you did it right. () [Next week, find out when the speaker arrived.] If she arrived in the morning, she left the night before. Kaufmann builds the future into the meaning of if. So this is a separate kind of conditional (since it uses a special kind of if ).file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  4. 4. Tense in Conditionals  • Ippolito [, ], von Stechow []: (optional!) covert FUT inside if -clause. • Somehow licensed by the modal element of the conditional. But this is inde- pendent of the licensing of a covert FUT for the complement (consequent). Epistemic must does not trigger future shift for its complement but the if - clause still undergoes future shift: () If he arrives on time, he must be a fast driver.Dudman: these are conditionals that do not belong together with the “indicatives”(which he calls hypotheticals) but belong together with what are usually called “sub-junctive” or “counterfactual” conditionals.==> Much upheaval in the philosophical literature. Subjunctive Conditionals. Future Less Vivid ConditionalsIatridou []:() If he arrives on time, the seminar will start at pm.() If he arrived on time, the seminar would start at pm.() If he is here tomorrow, the seminar will be a success.() If he was/were here tomorrow, the seminar would be a success.PAST in both clausesAbusch: would is the PAST tense of will() will = PRES (woll) would = PAST (woll)() She wrote a book. It would later become a bestseller. (future in the past) [example from Condoravdi [].]The morphology in the antecedent is also PAST, more obviously so (with the excep-tion of the weird were form).I will assume that there is just one active PAST operator, the other one being a kindof agreement item.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  5. 5. Tense in Conditionals What is the PAST doing?Possible Analyses: • No rhyme or reason • Different operators, PAST morphology is co-opted for nebulous reasons • PAST has a deep meaning that surfaces either as past tense or as “subjunctive” (Iatridou []) • PAST means past – end of storyMy preference in principle is the simplest story: PAST means past.Q: What does PAST locate in the past in FLVs?A: What’s located in the past is the time from which we check the accessibility ofantecedent worlds. In other words, it is the modal operator which is affected byPAST.() If he arrived on time, the seminar would start at pm.At time t’ (in the past of the speech time), worlds accessible at that time in which hearrives on time (after the speech time) are worlds in which the seminar starts at pm.Why would a speaker go back to what were accessible worlds in the past? Possibly todeliberately leave it open whether there are still accessible worlds where he will arriveon time, or even to signal that there are no such worlds accessible anymore.NB: locating the time of accessibility in the past does not affect the time referenceof the antecedent and consequent clauses, which is still calculated from the time ofspeech (modulo the optional covert FUT).() *If he came yesterday, the seminar would start at pm.. Counterfactual ConditionalsHere, finally, is the most complex kind of conditional:() If he had arrived on time, the seminar would have started at pm.What has happened? Iatridou: another layer of tense/aspect, in particular a secondlayer of PAST.What is the second layer of PAST doing? It is locating the antecedent and consequentclauses in the past of the speech time.Perhaps, nothing else is different.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  6. 6. Tense in Conditionals . Counterfactuals are Simply Past ConditionalsWe thus get the idea that counterfactuals are simply past conditionals, twice over:first we talk about what worlds were accessible at a past time, second we talk aboutpast events in the antecedent and consequent clauses.As Bennett admits, this is very seductive:() a. If you swim in the sea today, your cold will get worse. b. If you had swum in the sea yesterday, your cold would have got worse.Thomason & Gupta []:() If Oswald hadn’t shot Kennedy, then Kennedy would be alive today.is the past of() If Oswald doesn’t shoot Kennedy, then Kenny will be alive . . . .“We want to propose (tentatively) that a subjunctive asserts that the correspondingindicative sentence was true in some contextually determined interval of time.” Problems for the PAST = past TheoryNute [, , ] complained that it’s too easy to find past times at which the in-dicative was true, even if we judge the counterfactual false. Thomason [] answersthat there is reference to a contextually determined interval of time, as Thomason &Gupta in fact said explicitly in the original article.Bennett:() [Sheep are checked first for weight and then for health; if they fail for weight they go into the meadow, if for health into the barn; if they pass both they go to the slaughter-house. Consider now a sheep that squeaks through on weight and on health; we do not want to say that] if it hadn’t been picked for slaughter it would have gone to the barn; [yet during the minute between the two checks there is a sound basis for saying that] if it isn’t picked for slaughter it will go to the barn.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  7. 7. Tense in Conditionals () [We are watching a black earth-to-sky pillar of cloud approaching your villa outside Marrakesh; I ignorantly remark ‘I hope it doesn’t rain – that would make our picnic uncomfortable, and you – knowing more – reply sardon- ically:] a. If it doesn’t rain, the picnic will be impossible. [because if it doesn’t rain the cloud must be a sandstorm which will make the picnic impossible] b. If it hadn’t rained, the picnic would have been impossible.() If it hadn’t rained, the cloud would have (to have) been a sandcloud.() If Booth didn’t shoot Lincoln, someone else did.() If Booth hadn’t shot Lincoln, someone else would have.() If Booth hadn’t been the one who shot Lincoln, someone else would (have to) have been (the one who shot him). (Fogelin [])Barker’s complaint []:() [A randomly tossed coin comes up heads.] a. If you had bet on heads you would have won. b. If you bet on heads, you will win.() a. If you embark on that plane you will be killed. b. If you had embarked on that plane you would have been killed.Edgington []: “The fraudulent fortune-teller, gazing into her crystal ball, says ‘It’snot altogether clear, but I’m pretty sure that if you fly this week, you will be killed’.I miss my plane. It crashes. About % of those on board are killed. ‘My God shewas right!’, I say, ‘It was very likely that I would have been killed, had I caught thatplane’. Lucky guesses are sometimes right, and this was one. The value to be assignedto the hindsightful counterfactual trumps the most rational value to be assigned tothe forward-looking indicative.”Connection to MacFarlane’s [] assessment-relative theory of the future?But maybe this is all a bit too quixotic. What if the natural modal for an indicativeconditional (one that is present-oriented) is an epistemic modal, while once PASTapplies, the modal is naturally interpreted as a metaphysical/historical necessity kindof modal? Then we don’t necessarily expect that at the past time of accessibility acorresponding indicative has to be true.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  8. 8. Tense in Conditionals  Mismatched Two Past ConditionalsIppolito [, ] draws attention to counterfactuals like this one:() If he had arrived tomorrow, we would have held the seminar on Wednesday.We observe that we have double PAST marking even though the clauses actually referto events in the future of the speech time. How can that happen?Ippolito proposes that both layers of PAST apply to the time of accessibility, whichleaves the time reference of the two clauses untouched.The time reference of the two clauses now works as expected. The covert FUT shiftsthe antecedent clause to the future of the speech time and so does another covertFUT for the consequent.Why two PASTs? Obvious answer to try: to distinguish counterfactuals about thefuture from Future Less Vivids. ESPN Counterfactuals() If Ramirez doesn’t catch that, it’s a double and the tying run is in scoring position.() If Ramirez hadn’t caught that, it would have been a double and the tying run would have been in scoring position.Two layers of PAST replaced by two historical presents. The over modal disappears:() If Ramirez doesn’t catch that, it will be a double and the tying run will be in scoring position.Why does the modal disappear? Not needed as host for the layers of tense morphol-ogy. And/or, will doesn’t seem as immediate / engaged in the action.Do these work like true counterfactuals?() If he had taken arsenic, he would show exactly these symptoms.() ??If he took arsenic, he shows exactly these symptoms.() If Rodman is heckled by the guy, he does exactly this. So, perhaps he was heckled.[see http://semantics-online.org/blog///present_indicative_counterfactuals]file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  9. 9. Tense in Conditionals Incomplete Bibliography[] A, Dorit: . “Generalizing Tense Semantics for Future Contexts.” In Susan Rothstein (Editor) Events and Grammar. Kluwer.[] A, Dorit: . “On the Temporal Composition of Infinitives.” In [], pages –. URL http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/chap. pdf.[] B, Stephen J.: . “Predetermination and Tense Probabilism.” Analysis, (): –. doi:./-..[] B, Jonathan: . A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals. Oxford Uni- versity Press.[] C, Cleo: . “Temporal Interpretation of Modals: Modals for the Present and for the Past.” In David I. Beaver, Luis D. Casillas Martínez, Bardy Z. Clark, & Stefan Kaufmann (Editors) The Construction of Meaning. Stanford: CSLI. Preprint at http://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/JmZTIwO/ temp-modals.pdf.[] C, Cleo: . “Moods and Modalities for Will and Would.” Hand- out from Workshop on Mood and Modality, Amsterdam Colloquium, Decem- ber , .[] C, Richard: . The Temporal Properties of English Conditionals and Modals. Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge. URL http://www.parc.com/ istl/members/crouch/thesis.pdf.[] E, Dorothy: . “On Conditionals.” Mind, : –.[] E, Dorothy: . “Counterfactuals and the Benefit of Hindsight.” In P. Dowe & P. Noordhof (Editors) Causation and Counterfactuals. London: Routledge.[] E, Dorothy: . “What If? Questions about Conditionals.” Mind & Language, (): –. doi:./-..[] E, Andy, H, John, & W, Brian: . “Epistemic Modals in Context.” URL http://brian.weatherson.net/em.pdf.[] E, Mürvet: . “Tense and Modality.” In Shalom Lappin (Editor) Hand- book of Contemporary Semantic Theory, pages –. Blackwell.[]  F, Kai & G, Anthony S.: . “Might Made Right.” URL http://mit.edu/fintel/www/might.pdf. Ms.[] F, Robert J.: . “David Lewis on Indicative and Counterfactual Con- ditionals.” Analysis, (): –. doi:./-..file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  10. 10. Tense in Conditionals [] G, Alan: . “Two Recent Theories of Conditionals.” In [], pages –.[] G, Jacqueline & L, Jacqueline (Editors) : . The Syntax of Time. MIT Press.[] H, William, S, Robert, & P, Glenn (Editors) : . Ifs: Conditionals, Belief, Decision, Chance, and Time. Dordrecht: Reidel.[] I, Sabine: . “The Grammatical Ingredients of Counterfactuality.” Linguistic Inquiry, (): –. doi:./.[] I, Michela: . “Presuppositions and Implicatures in Counterfactu- als.” Natural Language Semantics, (): –. doi:./A:.[] I, Michela: . “Semantic Composition and Presupposition Projec- tion in Subjunctive Conditionals.” Ms.[] K, Stefan: . “Conditional Truth and Future Reference.” URL http://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/zUyODEN/kaufmann_settledness. pdf. In press, Journal of Semantics.[] K, Angelika: . Semantik der Rede: Kontexttheorie - Modalwörter - Konditionalsätze. Königstein/Taunus: Scriptor.[] K, Angelika: . “Conditionals.” Chicago Linguistics Society, (): –. Reprinted in [], pages –.[] L, David: . “Adverbs of Quantification.” In Edward Keenan (Editor) Formal Semantics of Natural Language, pages –. Cambridge University Press.[] MF, John: . “Epistemic Modalities and Relative Truth.” URL http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~jmacf/epistmod.pdf.[] MF, John: . “Future Contingents and Relative Truth.” Philo- sophical Quarterly, (): –. doi:./-..[] N, Daniel: . “Defending a Possible-Worlds Account of Indicative Conditionals.” Philosophical Studies, : –. doi:./B:PHIL...d.[] N, Donald: . “Tense and Conditionals.” Technical report, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. URL ftp://ai.uga.edu/pub/ai-reports/ai.pdf. Also Research Report AI--, Artificial Intelligence Programs, University of Georgia, .[] N, Donald: . “Review of Harper, Stalnaker, and Pearce ().” Philoso- phy of Science, : –.[] N, Donald: . “Conditional Logic.” In Dov Gabbay & Franz Guenthner (Editors) Handbook of Philosophical Logic. Volume II, pages –. Dordrecht: Reidel.file: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //
  11. 11. Tense in Conditionals [] O, Toshiyuki: . “Counterfactuals, Temporal Adverbs, and Associa- tion with Focus.” Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT), .[]  S, Arnim: . “Temporal Orientation of Modals and Attitudes (and Covert Temporal Operators).” URL http://vivaldi.sfs.nphil.uni-tuebingen. de/~arnim/Handouts/Cornell_April..pdf. Handout from talk at Cornell April .[]  S, Arnim & W, Dieter (Editors) : . Semantics: An International Handbook of Contemporary Research. de Gruyter.[] S, Tim: . “Tense and Modals.” In [], pages –. Preprint at http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/stowell/Stowell-Tense&Modals.pdf.[] T, Richmond & G, Anil: . “A Theory of Conditionals in the Context of Branching Time.” The Philosophical Review, (): –. Reprinted in [].[] T, Richmond H.: . “Note on Tense and Subjunctive Condition- als.” Philosophy of Science, (): –.[] W, Thomas A.: . Deducing the Future and Distinguishing the Past: Temporal Interpretation in Modal Sentences in English. Ph.D. thesis, Rutgers. URL http://ling.rutgers.edu/papers/WernerThesis.pdf.[] W, Michael: . Conditionals. Oxford University Pres. Edited by David Wiggins, with a Commentary by Dorothy Edgington.Kai von FintelDepartment of Linguistics & PhilosophyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyRoom -D Massachusetts AvenueCambridge, MA email: fintel@mit.eduweb: http://mit.edu/fintelfile: http://mit.edu/fintel/www/cornell.tense.pdf, version: //

×