David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):135 - 146 (2003)
In my book Four-dimensionalism (chapter 4, section 9), I argued that fourdimensionalism – the doctrine of temporal parts – follows from several other premises, chief among which is the premise that existence is never vague. Kathrin Koslicki (preceding article) claims that the argument fails since its crucial premise is unsupported, and is dialectically inappropriate to assume in the context of arguing for four-dimensionalism. Since the relationship between four-dimensionalism and the non-vagueness of existence is not perfectly transparent, I think the argument would retain some interest even if the premise were wholly unsupported; it would show that anyone who accepts that premise (which seems reasonable enough to me though perhaps not to others) must accept four-dimensionalism. Still, Koslicki is right that my defense of the premise was thin. So I will now try to do better. The new defense will have further premises, which could ultimately be rejected by opponents of four-dimensionalism, and so the argument retains the form: anyone who thinks certain things (which seem reasonable enough to me though perhaps not to others) must believe four-dimensionalism. But that’s metaphysics for you. I should also say that, in addition to the material on vague existence, there is more in Koslicki’s excellent paper which I cannot discuss here. I agree with much of it;1 and where we disagree there are formidable challenges, some of which I hope to address in the future
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Similar books and articles
Theodore Sider (2001). Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford University Press.
Kathrin Koslicki (2003). The Crooked Path From Vagueness to Four-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107 - 134.
Chad Carmichael (2011). Vague Composition Without Vague Existence. Noûs 45 (2):315-327.
Yuri Balashov (2005). On Vagueness, 4d and Diachronic Universalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):523 – 531.
Elizabeth Barnes & J. R. G. Williams (2009). Vague Parts and Vague Identity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):176-187.
Nicholas Smith (2005). A Plea for Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem About Vague Composition and Vague Existence? Journal of Philosophy 102 (8):381 - 421.
Theodore Sider (1997). Four-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
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