Sortal continuity of material things

Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):359-369 (1998)
Abstract
Spatiotemporal and qualitative continuity are not sufficient to trace the career or path of one and the same object through its history. One needs sortal continuity, guaranteed by the form-token of the object. In this paper I concentrate on the question of sortal continuity linked to the problem of the cohabitation of objects. I intend to test whether it is possible to stick to the belief in continuants or endurers as well as the sortal dependence of identity and at the same time avoid an undesirable multiplication of spatially coinciding objects, i.e., avoid the thesis of cohabitation. I abandon the philosophical view – this is the price to be paid – that the set of the material constituents making up an object is an object proper. The basic units of reality are the objects falling under sortals and not the ultimate components thereof. That a determinate piece of copper is not identical with the statue made from it, therefore, does not imply that we have a cohabitation of two numerically different objects.
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