Arthur Prior: A “Young Progressive”: Letters to Ursula Bethell and to Hugh Teague 1936-1941
Mike Grimshaw (ed)
Canterbury University Press, $60.00,
A N Prior graduated from Otago University in philosophy and taught there and at the universities of Canterbury (1946-58), Manchester (1959-66) and Oxford (1966-69). At Canterbury, he developed a new form of logic, “tense logic” (1949-1954). Standard logic was atemporal, having no place for timed inferences. Prior developed non-truth-functional temporal operators [F (future – “will be”); G (universal future – “always will be”); P (past – “was”); and, H (universal past – “always was”)] to be added to the usual truth-functional operators in first-order propositional logic, that allowed for propositions qualified in terms of time. This innovation allowed Prior to take time seriously – to understand reality as tensed – and so reconfigure the metaphysics of time (Time and Modality, 1957; Past, Present and Future, 1967). Tense logic also provided the foundation for a number of developments in artificial intelligence.
___________________________________________________________________This content is restricted to subscribers.
If you are an existing subscriber, please login.
If you would like to subscribe to New Zealand Review of Books Pukapula Aotearoa, find out more here.