David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 148 (2):401 - 423 (2006)
Puzzles about persistence and change through time, i.e., about identity across time, have foundered on confusion about what it is for ‘two things’ to be have ‘the same thing’ at a time. This is most directly seen in the dispute over whether material objects can occupy exactly the same place at the same time. This paper defends the possibility of such coincidence against several arguments to the contrary. Distinguishing a temporally relative from an absolute sense of ‘the same’, we see that the intuition, ‘this is only one thing’, and the dictum, ‘two things cannot occupy the same place at the same time’, are individuating things at a time rather than absolutely and are therefore compatible with coincidence. Several other objections philosophers have raised ride on this same ambiguity. Burke, originating what has become the most popular objection to coincidence, argues that if coincidence is possible there would be no explanation of how objects that are qualitatively the same at a time could belong to different sorts. But we can explain an object’s sort by appealing to its properties at other times. Burke’s argument to the contrary equivocates on different notions of ‘cross-time identity’ and ‘the statue’. From a largely negative series of arguments emerges a positive picture of what it means to say multiple things coincide and of why an object’s historical properties explain its sort rather than vice versa – in short, of how coincidence is possible.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
David K. Lewis (1986). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
David Lewis (1993). Many, but Almost One. In Keith Cambell, John Bacon & Lloyd Reinhardt (eds.), Ontology, Causality, and Mind: Essays on the Philosophy of D. M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press 23-38.
David K. Lewis (1983). Philosophical Papers. Oxford University Press.
D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.
Peter M. Simons (1987). Parts: A Study in Ontology. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Robert Carry Osborne (2016). Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):197-221.
Thomas Hofweber (2009). The Meta-Problem of Change. Noûs 43 (2):286 - 314.
Matthew McGrath (2007). Temporal Parts. Philosophy Compass 2 (5):730–748.
Similar books and articles
Eric T. Olson (1996). Composition and Coincidence. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77 (4):374-403.
M. Eddon (2010). Why Four-Dimensionalism Explains Coincidence. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):721-728.
L. A. Paul (2006). Coincidence as Overlap. Noûs 40 (4):623–659.
Pablo Rychter (2011). How Coincidence Bears on Persistence. Philosophia 39 (4):759-770.
E. J. Lowe (2002). Material Coincidence and the Cinematographic Fallacy: A Response to Olson. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):369-372.
Judith Crane (2012). Biological-Mereological Coincidence. Philosophical Studies 161 (2):309-325.
Thomas Sattig (2010). Compatibilism About Coincidence. Philosophical Review 119 (3):273-313.
Mark Moyer (2009). Does Four-Dimensionalism Explain Coincidence?∗. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):479-488.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads68 ( #62,964 of 1,907,220 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #160,519 of 1,907,220 )
How can I increase my downloads?