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Refining Temporal Reference in Event Structures

Varzi, Achille C.; Pianesi, Fabio

Reasoning and talking about time is to a great extent reasoning and talking about what actually happens or might happen at some time or another. This is perhaps not crucial if our concern is with abstract temporal reasoners or planners intended for specific applications, but it arguably matters for the prospects of knowledge representation and natural language semantics. The variety of the world is the variety of the things that happen, and we can’t deal with it without taking events at face value (just as we cannot deal with physical bodies or masses by confining ourselves to their spatial coordinates). The purpose of this paper is to expand on this by further investigating the subtle connections between time and events. After a brief review, in the first part we shall generalize the notion of an event structure to that of a refinement structure, where various degrees of temporal granularity are accommodated. In the second part we shall then investigate how these structures can account for the context-dependence of temporal structures in natural language semantics.



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Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic

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October 28, 2014