|Abstract||The furniture of the world includes planets and pebbles, hopes and fears, fields and waves, theories and problems, births and deaths. As metaphysicians, we want to understand the basic nature of these and other kinds of item; and my topic is the basic nature of births and deaths - more generally, of events. If events are things that happen, what differentiates them from sticks and stones, which are things that exist but do not happen? Do events constitute a fundamental ontological category, or is our event concept just a way of organizing material that could be handled without its aid? With questions like those in the background, I ask: what sort of things are events? Locke and Leibniz knew the answer to this; then Kim rediscovered it; but his rediscovery did less good than it might have because it was ambushed by an error. I shall explain. A sparrow falls. That fall of that sparrow is a particular, located in space and time. It occurs where the sparrow is when it falls, and it occurs just then. It is, then, closely linked to the sparrow, and even more closely to the fact that the sparrow falls there and then. Witness the opening of this paragraph, where I said that a sparrow falls, and went straight on to speak of “that fall”. That the fall exists (= occurs) is a logical upshot of the fact that the sparrow falls. Every event results logically from some such underlying fact: there was a fight because some animals fought, there was a storm because wind and water moved thus and so. In section 12, I shall discuss the rival view that some animals fought because there was a fight. What metaphysical categories have a role in the fact that a certain sparrow fell? Can any of them be identified with the sparrow’s fall? I shall consider five candidates: a fact, a thing, a temporal part of a thing, a property, and a property-instance. (a) The fact that the sparrow falls. One simple reason why an event cannot be a fact is that events have positions in space-time, whereas facts do not..|
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