Prior’s paradigm for the study of time and its methodological motivation

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A. N. Prior’s writings should obviously be studied already for historical reasons. His inventions of modern temporal logic and hybrid logic are clearly important events in the history of logic. But the enduring importance of studying his works also rests on his methodological approach, which remains highly relevant also for systematical reasons. In this paper we argue that Prior’s formulation in the 1950s of a tense-logical paradigm for the study of time should be understood in the light of at least three other principles or perspectives which were manifest already in his studies during the 1940s and further developed in the 1950s: (1) his emphasis on the value of interdisciplinary studies, (2) his reflections on formalisation and (3) his view of the role of symbolic logic in conceptual studies and in the philosophy of science. Our investigation into Prior’s basic tenets and principles makes extensive use of Prior’s Nachlass. It is thereby also exemplified how his correspondence and unpublished papers contain important information for a deeper understanding of Prior’s paradigm for the study of time.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)3401-3416
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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