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Persistence

Edited by A. P. Taylor (North Dakota State University)
About this topic
Summary What is it for an object to persist over an interval of time? How is persistence achieved? Do objects exist through changes in their intrinsic properties or do such changes cause the object to go out of existence only to be replaced by another more or less similar object? The theory of persistence tries to give principled answers to the these questions, drawing on theoretical physics, philosophical intuition and argumentation, and careful reflection on the phenomenology of objects. The most popular answers to these questions are represented by a pair of competing theories: endurantism, the view according to which objects endure, or "sweep," through time taking all their three-dimensional parts with them; and perdurantism, the view according to which objects are composites or "worms" of temporal parts existing in a four-dimensional spacetime manifold.   A third important theory is the "stage" theory favored by some perdurantists, on this view objects are, strictly speaking, identical with momentary temporal parts or "stages" in a four-dimensional spacetime manifold and to say they persist is merely a facon de parle.  
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  1. Liliana Albertazzi (1996). Comet Tails, Fleeting Objects and Temporal Inversions. Axiomathes 7 (1-2):111-135.
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  2. David Armstrong (1980). Identity Through Time. In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause: Essays Presented to Richard Taylor. Reidel 67-78.
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  3. Harriett Baber (2010). Ex Ante Desire and Post Hoc Satisfaction. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. MIT Press 249--267.
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  4. Yuri Balashov (2003). Restricted Diachronic Composition, Immanent Causality, and Objecthood: A Reply to Hudson. Philosophical Papers 32 (1):23-30.
    Composition, persistence, vagueness, and more constitute an interconnected network of problems. My criticism of Hud Hudson's provocative claims made in a recent paper (Hudson 2002) was focused almost exclusively on the issue of diachronic composition (Balashov 2003). Hudson's response (2003) has highlighted the dangers of such isolationism. But I want to hold to my strategy to the end. Part of the reason is to evade the appalling responsibility of presenting a full-blown theory of all the above phenomena; I must confess (...)
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  5. Helen Beebee & Michael Rush (2003). Non-Paradoxical Multi-Location. Analysis 63 (4):311–317.
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  6. David Braddon-Mitchell & Caroline West (2001). Temporal Phase Pluralism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):59-83.
    Some theories of personal identity allow some variation in what it takes for a person to survive from context to context; and sometimes this is determined by the desires of person-stages or the practices of communities.This leads to problems for decision making in contexts where what is chosen will affect personal identity.‘Temporal Phase Pluralism’ solves such problems by allowing that there can be a plurality of persons constituted by a sequence of person stages. This illuminates difficult decision making problems when (...)
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  7. Krister Bykvist (1999). All Time Preferences? Theoria 65 (1):36-54.
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  8. C. Callender (2001). Humean Supervenience and Rotating Homogeneous Matter. Mind 110 (437):25-44.
    is the thesis that everything supervenes upon the spatiotemporal distribution of local intrinsic qualities. A recent threat to HS, originating in thought experiments by Armstrong and Kripke, claims that the mere possibility of rotating homogeneous discs proves HS false. I argue that the rotating disc argument (RDA) fails. If I am right, Humeans needn't abandon or alter HS to make sense of rotating homogeneous discs. Homogeneous discs, as necessarily understood by RDA, are not the sorts of things in which we (...)
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  9. Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.) (2010). Time and Identity. MIT Press.
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  10. Massimiliano Carrara & Elisabetta Sacchi (2007). Cardinality and Identity. Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (5):539 - 556.
    P.T. Geach has maintained (see, e.g., Geach (1967/1968)) that identity (as well as dissimilarity) is always relative to a general term. According to him, the notion of absolute identity has to be abandoned and replaced by a multiplicity of relative identity relations for which Leibniz's Law - which says that if two objects are identical they have the same properties - does not hold. For Geach relative identity is at least as good as Frege's cardinality thesis which he takes to (...)
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  11. Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith (2005). Tracking Referents in Electronic Health Records. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 116:71–76.
    Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are organized around two kinds of statements: those reporting observations made, and those reporting acts performed. In neither case does the record involve any direct reference to what such statements are actually about. They record not: what is happening on the side of the patient, but rather: what is said about what is happening. While the need for a unique patient identifier is generally recognized, we argue that we should now move to an EHR regime in (...)
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  12. Shaoming Chen (2008). Endurance and Non-Endurance: From the Perspective of Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (3):335-351.
    By analysing the two relevant psychological phenomena of “endurance” and “non-endurance,” this essay aims to reveal the ethical implications of a Confucian approach, namely regarding non-endurance as an impulse of primary virtue. Based on this case study, the author then explores the significance of moral cultivation or psychological training in establishing moral personality and the complexities of such a process. Meanwhile, “love” in Confucian ethics means sympathy for the inferior rather than affection for the revered. Hopefully, this study may deepen (...)
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  13. Barry F. Dainton (1992). Time and Division. Ratio 5 (2):102-128.
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  14. Peter C. Dalton (1977). Human Persistence Through Time. New Scholasticism 51 (2):162-181.
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  15. Josh Dever (2007). Low-Grade Two-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Books 48 (1):1-16.
    As tends to be the way with philosophical positions, there are at least as many two-dimensionalisms as there are two-dimensionalists. But painting with a broad brush, there are core epistemological and metaphysical commitments which underlie the two-dimensionalist project, commitments for which I have no sympathies. A sketch of three signi?cant points of disagreement.
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  16. Clement Dore (1989). Abortion, Some Slippery Slope Arguments and Identity Over Time. Philosophical Studies 55 (3):279 - 291.
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  17. Andreas Dorschel (2007). Die Idee der Verwandlung. In Verwandlungsmusik. Über komponierte Transfigurationen. Universal Edition 11-51.
    Within the European history of ideas, at least three conceptions of metamorphosis can be distinguished. First, as celebrated in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, there is the vision of an open-ended flux of shapes in all directions, potentially with the ambiguous result of wavering identity. Secondly, at the centre of the synoptic gospels Jesus’s transfiguration is presented as a luminous elevation, rendering his true nature unambiguous. Thirdly, alchemy conceives of metamorphosis as contingent upon a meeting of polarities. The distinction is fit to disclose (...)
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  18. Fred I. Dretske (1964). Particular Reidentification. Philosophy of Science 31 (2):133-142.
    A certain dilemma is inherent in relational accounts of space and time. If any objects endure through change, then temporal elements other than relations are required to describe them. If, on the other hand, no objects endure through change, no permanent reference system is available in terms of which to define the "same place" at different times. An argument which, by exploiting this latter difficulty, attempts to show that "objects with some endurance through time" must be accepted as fundamental is (...)
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  19. William Edgar (2003). How Things Persist. Review of Metaphysics 57 (2):410-412.
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  20. Douglas Ehring (1991). Motion, Causation, and the Causal Theory of Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (2):180 – 194.
  21. Crawford L. Elder (2003). Destruction, Alteration, Simples and World Stuff. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210):24–38.
    When a tree is chopped to bits, or a sweater unravelled, its matter still exists. Since antiquity, it has sometimes been inferred that nothing really has been destroyed: what has happened is just that this matter has assumed new form. Contemporary versions hold that apparent destruction of a familiar object is just rearrangement of microparticles or of 'physical simples' or 'world stuff'. But if destruction of a familiar object is genuinely to be reduced to mere alteration of something else, we (...)
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  22. Ray Elugardo & Rob Stainton (2010). Identity Through Change and Substitutivity Salva Veritate. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. MIT Press
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  23. Delia Graff Fara (2012). Possibility Relative to a Sortal. In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 7. Oxford University Press
    This paper is an informal presentation of the ideas presented formally in (”Relative-Sameness Counterpart Theory”. Relative-sameness relations -- such as being the same person as -- are like David Lewis’s “counterpart” relations in the following respects: (i) they may hold over time or across worlds between objects that aren’t cross-time or cross-world identical (I propose), and (ii) there are a multiplicity of them, different ones of which may be variously invoked in different contexts. They differ from his counterpart relations, however, (...)
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  24. Kit Fine (2006). In Defense of Three-Dimensionalism. Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):699-714.
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  25. Bas C. Fraassen & Isabelle Peschard (2008). Identity Over Time: Objectively, Subjectively. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):15-35.
    In the philosophy of science, identity over time emerges as a central concern both as an ontological category in the interpretation of physical theories, and as an epistemological problem concerning the conditions of possibility of knowledge. In Reichenbach and subsequent writers on the problem of indistinguishable quantum particles we see the return of a contrast between Leibniz and Aquinas on the subject of individuation. The possibility of rejecting the principle of the identity of indiscernibles has certain logical difficulties, leading us (...)
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  26. André Gallois (2011). Occasional Identity: Thereby Hangs the Tale. Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):188-202.
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  27. B. J. Garrett (1985). Noonan, 'Best Candidate' Theories and the Ship of Theseus. Analysis 45 (4):212 - 215.
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  28. Pierre Grenon (2008). Persistence and Ontological Pluralism. In Christian Kanzian (ed.), Persistence. Ontos
    We aim to provide the ontological grounds for an adequate account of persistence. We defend a perspectivalist, or moderate pluralist, position, according to which some aspects of reality can be accounted for in ontological terms only via partial and mutually complementary ontologies, each one of which captures some relevant aspect of reality. Our thesis here is that this is precisely the sort of ontological account that is needed for the understanding of persistence, specifically an account involving two independent ontologies, one (...)
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  29. Nicholas Griffin (1976). Ayers on Relative Identity. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):579 - 594.
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  30. Mariusz Grygianiec (2009). Teoria części czasowych – tezy i argumentacje. Filozofia Nauki 4 (4).
    In the paper the most popular arguments in favour of the doctrine of temporal parts are presented and analysed. The author discusses the following arguments: (i) from analogy; (ii) from ontological parsimony; (iii) from intrinsic change; (iv) from mereological change; (v) against presentism; (vi) from time travel; (vii) from vagueness; (viii) from coincidence. The main aim of the paper is to show - in the light of examined arguments - that the 3D-ism/4D-ism equivalence thesis might be treated as a well-founded (...)
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  31. Sally Haslanger (2003). Persistence Through Time. In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press 315--354.
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  32. David Haugen (1995). Personal Identity and Concern for the Future. Philosophia 24 (3-4):481-492.
    Parfit's reductionist theory of personal identity states that a person's persistence through time is just a matter of psychological continuity and connectedness. He uses this theory to argue against the requirement of equal concern: the view that a rational person should be equally concerned about all parts of her future. The argument is that since psychological connectedness is one of grounds of a person's concern for her future and since connectedness is weaker over longer periods, it follows that a person (...)
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  33. Katherine Hawley (2005). Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):602-621.
    Closest-continuer or best-candidate accounts of persistence seem deeply unsatisfactory, but it’s hard to say why. The standard criticism is that such accounts violate the ‘only a and b’ rule, but this criticism merely highlights a feature of the accounts without explaining why the feature is unacceptable. Another concern is that such accounts violate some principle about the supervenience of persistence facts upon local or intrinsic facts. But, again, we do not seem to have an independent justification for this supervenience claim. (...)
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  34. Mark Heller (2000). Temporal Overlap is Not Coincidence. The Monist 83 (3):362-380.
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  35. Mark Heller (1987). The Best Candidate Approach to Diachronic Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (4):434 – 451.
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  36. Boris Hennig (2008). Occurrents. In Katherine Munn & Barry Smith (eds.), Applied Ontology. An Introduction. Ontos Verlag
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  37. Ronald C. Hoy (1978). Becoming and Persons. Philosophical Studies 34 (3):269 - 280.
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  38. Hud Hudson (2004). Temporally Incongruent Counterparts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):337 - 343.
    Despite its first page this paper is not yet another piece on Kant! Rather, the paper is a contribution to the literature on incongruent counterparts. Specifically, it concerns the question of whether we can construct a temporal version of the puzzle of incongruent counterparts--a question which (as far as I can tell) has been thoroughly neglected. I maintain that we can construct such a version of the puzzle, and that this temporal variant on the phenomenon has something to teach us (...)
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  39. Hud Hudson (2003). Immanent Causality and Diachronic Composition: A Reply to Balashov. Philosophical Papers 32 (1):15-22.
    Philosophical Papers Vol.32(1) 2003: 15-22.
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  40. Jenann Ismael (2010). Me, Again. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. MIT Press
    Thought about the self raises some very special problems. Some of these concern indexical reference quite generally, but there is one having to do with identity over time that seems to be unique to the self. I use an historical exchange between Anscombe and Descartes to bring out the problem, and propose a resolution that casts light both on why self-directed thought presents a unique epistemic predicament and where Descartes’ cogito may have gone wrong.
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  41. Dale Jacquette (2002). How Things Persist. International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (4):551-554.
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  42. Ludger Jansen (2011). The Ship of Theseus. In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell
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  43. Christian Kanzian (ed.) (2008). Persistence. Ontos.
    Preface The problem of persistence is as old as the tradition of systematic ontology: How can we explain that the middle-sized standard objects of ...
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  44. Markku Keinänen & Jani Hakkarainen (2010). Persistence of Simple Substances. Metaphysica 11 (2):119-135.
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  45. Marvin E. Kirsh, Uniqueness Self Belonging and Intercourse in Nature New Version.
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  46. Saul A. Kripke, Time and Identity.
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  47. Simon Langford (2014). On What We Are and How We Persist. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (3):356-371.
    This article defends novel approaches to what we are and how we persist. First it is claimed that we have disjunctive persistence conditions: we can persist by way of either biological continuity or psychological continuity. Then it is claimed that we are neither human beings nor persons essentially. Rather, we are essentially bio-psycho-continuers, a concept to be explained along the way. A variety of objections are considered and found wanting.
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  48. Simon Langford & Murali Ramachandran (2011). Occasional Identity: A Tale of Two Approaches. Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):175-187.
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  49. Robin le Poidevin (2000). Continuants and Continuity. The Monist 83 (3):381-398.
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  50. Robin Le Poidevin & Murray MacBeath (eds.) (1993). The Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
    This volume provides a balanced set of reviews which introduce the central topics in the philosophy of time. This is the first introductory anthology on the subject to appear for many years; the contributors are distinguished, and two of the essays are specially written for this collection. In their introduction, the editors summarize the background to the debate, and show the relevance of issues in the philosophy of time for other branches of philosophy and for science. Contributors include J.M.E. McTaggart, (...)
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