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Persistence

Edited by A. P. Taylor (North Dakota State University)
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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. 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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  2. 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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  3. David Braddon-Mitchell & Caroline West (2001). Temporal Phase Pluralism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):59-83.
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  4. Krister Bykvist (1999). All Time Preferences? Theoria 65 (1):36-54.
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  5. Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.) (2010). Time and Identity. Mit Press.
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  6. 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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  7. Barry F. Dainton (1992). Time and Division. Ratio 5 (2):102-128.
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  8. Clement Dore (1989). Abortion, Some Slippery Slope Arguments and Identity Over Time. Philosophical Studies 55 (3):279 - 291.
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  9. Douglas Ehring (1991). Motion, Causation, and the Causal Theory of Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (2):180 – 194.
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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. Mark Heller (2000). Temporal Overlap is Not Coincidence. The Monist 83 (3):362-380.
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  18. Mark Heller (1987). The Best Candidate Approach to Diachronic Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (4):434 – 451.
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  19. Boris Hennig (2008). Occurrents. In Katherine Munn & Barry Smith (eds.), Applied Ontology. An Introduction. Ontos Verlag.
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  20. Ronald C. Hoy (1978). Becoming and Persons. Philosophical Studies 34 (3):269 - 280.
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. Markku Keinänen & Jani Hakkarainen (2010). Persistence of Simple Substances. Metaphysica 11 (2):119-135.
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  25. Robin le Poidevin (2000). Continuants and Continuity. The Monist 83 (3):381-398.
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  26. 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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  27. Barbara Levenbook (2010). The Retroactivity Problem. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press.
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  28. David Lewis (1988). Rearrangement of Particles: Reply to Lowe. Analysis 48 (2):65-72.
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  29. David Lewis (1971). Counterparts of Persons and Their Bodies. Journal of Philosophy 68 (7):203-211.
  30. Andrew Light (2010). Love Conquers All, Even Time? In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press. 311.
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  31. E. Lowe (1998). Tense and Persistence. In Robin Le~Poidevin (ed.), Questions of Time and Tense. Oxford University Press. 43--59.
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  32. E. J. Lowe (1998). The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time. Oxford University Press.
    Lowe argues in this fascinating new study that metaphysics should be restored to centrality in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He then sets out his own metaphysical system, with which he seeks to answer many of the most vexed questions in philosophy.
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  33. Ned Markosian (1994). The 3d/4d Controversy and Non-Present Objects. Philosophical Papers 23 (3):243-249.
    Worlds, Lewis says this: Let us say that something persists iff, somehow or other, it exists at various times; this is the neutral word. Something perdures iff it persists by having different temporal parts, or stages, at different times, though no one part of it is wholly present at more than one time; whereas it endures iff it persists by being wholly present at more than one time. Perdurance corresponds to the way a road persists through space; part of it (...)
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  34. Trenton Merricks (2001). Realism About Personal Identity Over Time. Noûs 35 (s15):173 - 187.
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  35. Trenton Merricks (1998). There Are No Criteria of Identity Over Time. Noûs 32 (1):106-124.
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  36. Friederike Moltmann (2013). The Semantics of Existence. Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (1):31-63.
    The notion of existence is a very puzzling one philosophically. Often philosophers have appealed to linguistic properties of sentences stating existence. However, the appeal to linguistic intuitions has generally not been systematic and without serious regard of relevant issues in linguistic semantics. This paper has two aims. On the one hand, it will look at statements of existence from a systematic linguistic point of view, in order to try to clarify what the actual semantics of such statements in fact is. (...)
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  37. Michael Morreau (2010). It Simply Does Not Add Up: Trouble with Overall Similarity. Journal of Philosophy 107 (9):469-490.
    Comparative overall similarity lies at the basis of a lot of recent metaphysics and epistemology. It is a poor foundation. Overall similarity is supposed to be an aggregate of similarities and differences in various respects. But there is no good way of combining them all.
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  38. Paul Needham (2010). Transient Things and Permanent Stuff. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):147 – 166.
    A view of individuals as constituted of quantities of matter, both understood as continuants enduring over time, is elaborated in some detail. Constitution is a three-place relation which can't be collapsed to identity because of the place-holder for a time and because individuals and quantities of matter have such a radically different character. Individuals are transient entities with limited lifetimes, whereas quantities are permanent existents undergoing change in physical and chemical properties from time to time. Coincidence, considered as a matter (...)
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  39. Harold Noonan (2010). Persons, Animals, and Human Beings. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press.
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  40. Eric T. Olson (2006). Temporal Parts and Timeless Parthood. Noûs 40 (4):738-752.
    What is a temporal part? Most accounts explain it in terms of timeless parthood: a thing's having a part without temporal qualification. Some find this hard to understand, and thus find the view that persisting things have temporal parts—four-dimensionalism—unintelligible. T. Sider offers to help by defining temporal parthood in terms of a thing's having a part at a time. I argue that no such account can capture the notion of a temporal part that figures in orthodox four-dimensionalism: temporal parts must (...)
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  41. Eric T. Olson (1997). Relativism and Persistence. Philosophical Studies 88 (2):141-162.
    Philosophers often talk as if what it takes for a person to persist through time were up to us, as individuals or as a linguistic community, to decide. In most ordinary situations it might be fully determinate whether someone has survived or perished: barring some unforeseen catastrophe, it is clear enough that you will still exist ten minutes from now, for example. But there is no shortage of actual and imaginary situations where it is not so clear whether one survives. (...)
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  42. Flavia Padovani (2013). Genidentity and Topology of Time: Kurt Lewin and Hans Reichenbach. In. In Nikolay Milkov & Volker Peckhaus (eds.), The Berlin Group and the Philosophy of Logical Empiricism. Springer. 97--122.
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  43. DeWitt H. Parker (1944). Some Comments on "Reformed Materialism and Intrinsic Endurance". Philosophical Review 53 (4):383-391.
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  44. Josh Parsons, A Phenomenological Argument for Stage Theory.
    Stage theory holds that the objects of ordinary discourse are instantaneous stages of four-dimensionally extended objects. This view contrasts with worm theory, according to which the objects of ordinary discourse are themselves four-dimensionally extended. This paper presents an argument that the way we experience time is more consistent with our being instantaneous objects than with our being temporally extended throughout our entire lifetimes. By argument to the best explanation therefore, experiencing subjects – persons – are stages; since persons are among (...)
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  45. John Perry (2010). Selves and Self-Concepts. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press. 229.
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  46. Gary Rosenkrantz (2002). The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):728–736.
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  47. M. Rush (2011). Picturing Persistence. Analysis 71 (4):637-641.
    David Lewis suggests and dismisses two ways, and endorses one further way, of visually representing persisting objects as changing over time. He argues that reflecting on these artistic observations should lead us to endorse a temporal parts theory of objects. This paper argues that Lewis's objections on these grounds to alternative theories of persistence and intrinsic change can be resisted, and that his argument in favour of his preferred method of drawing changing persisting objects fails to show that objects perdure.
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  48. Thomas Sattig (2012). The Paradox of Fission and the Ontology of Ordinary Objects. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):594-623.
    What happens to a person in a case of fission? Does it survive? Does it go out of existence? Or is the outcome indeterminate? Since each description of fission based on the persistence conditions associated with our ordinary concept of a person seems to clash with one or more platitudes of common sense about the spatiotemporal profile of macroscopic objects, fission threatens the common-sense conception of persons with inconsistency. Standard responses to this paradox agree that the common-sense conception of persons (...)
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  49. Paul Sheehy (2006). Sharing Space: The Synchronic Identity of Social Groups. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (2):131-148.
    Taking ontological realism about social groups as the thesis that groups are composite material objects constituted by their members, this paper considers a challenge to the very possibility that groups be regarded as material entities. Ordinarily we believe that two groups can have synchronic co-extensive memberships—for example, the choir and the rugby team—while preserving their distinctive identity conditions. We also doubt that two objects of the same kind can be in the same place at the same time, which would appear (...)
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  50. Theodore Sider (1999). Global Supervenience and Identity Across Times and Worlds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (4):913-937.
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