Category Archives: Arthur Prior

Arthur Prior

[H]alf the time I personally have forgotten what the date is, and have to look it up or ask somebody when I need it for writing cheques, etc.; yet even in this perceptual dateless haze one somehow communicates, one makes oneself understood, and with time-references too. One says, e.g., “Thank goodness that’s over!”, and not only is this, when said, quite clear without any date appended, but it says something which it is impossible that any use of a tenseless copula with a date should convey. It certainly doesn’t mean the same as, e.g. “Thank goodness the date of the conclusion of that thing is Friday, June 15, 1954”, even if it be said then. (Nor, for that matter, does it mean “Thank goodness the conclusion of that thing is contemporaneous with this utterance”. Why should anyone thank goodness for that?)

Arthur Prior, ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over’, Philosophy, vol. 34, no. 128 (January, 1959), p. 17