The structure of spatial localization

Philosophical Studies 82 (2):205 - 239 (1996)
Material objects, such as tables and chairs, have an intimate relationship with space. They have to be somewhere. They must possess an address at which they are found. Under this aspect, they are in good company. Events, too, such as Caesar’s death and John’s buttering of the toast, and more elusive entities, such as the surface of the table, have an address, difficult as it may be to specify. A stronger notion presents itself, though. Some entities may not only be located at an address; they may also own (as it were) the place at which they are located, so as to exclude other entities from being located at the same address. Thus, for certain kinds of entities, no two tokens of the same kind can be located at the same place at the same time. This is typically the case with material objects. Likewise, no two particularized properties of the same level or degree of determinacy can be located at the same place at the same time (although particularized properties of different degree, such as the red of this table and the color of this table, can). Other entities seem to evade the restriction. Two events can be perfectly co-located without competing for their address. Or, to use a different terminology, events do not occupy the spatial region at which they are located, and can therefore share it with other events. The rotation of the Earth and the cooling down of the Earth take place at exactly the same region. Some of these facts and hypotheses have important bearings as to matters of identity. For instance, co-localization seems to be a sufficient condition for identity in the case of material objects, but not in the case of..
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