A Grammar in Two Dimensions: The Temporal Mechanics of Arrival and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide

A Grammar in Two Dimensions: The Temporal Mechanics of Arrival and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide

A.G. Holdier

The University of Arkansas


Within the philosophy of language, contextualists typically hold (and semantic minimalists deny) that pragmatic elements of an utterance can affect its semantic content. This paper concretizes this debate by analogizing both positions to different kinds of time-travel stories: contextualism is akin to Ludovician narratives that deny the possibility of temporal editing (or “the changing of past events”) while semantic minimalism is aligned with stories that allow the past to be literally altered. By focusing particularly on Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival, which portrays a Ludovician model of temporality that firmly denies the possibility of temporal editing, this paper defends the strength of the contextualist position.

About the Author

A.G. Holdier is a doctoral student in philosophy and public policy at the University of Arkansas interested in cultural capital, social and political epistemology, and the intersection of ethics with philosophy of language. More broadly, he considers how epistemic structures like perspectives and worldviews affect our social-epistemic processes, as well as how to construct effective public policies in light of their associated norms.

ORCiD: 0000-0002-4832-9687

Website: https://agholdier.com

Published: 2022 – 10 – 04

Issue: Vol 5 (2022)

Section: General Articles

Copyright (c) 2022 A.G. Holdier

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