Endurantism, the view that material objects are wholly present at each moment of their careers, is under threat from supersubstantivalism, the view that material objects are identical to spacetime regions. I discuss three compromise positions. They are alike in that they all take material objects to be composed of spacetime points or regions without being identical to any such point or region. They differ in whether they permit multilocation and in whether they generate cases of mereologically coincident entities.
Do Russellian propositions have their constituents as parts? One reason for thinking not is that if they did, they would generate apparent counterexamples to plausible mereological principles. As Frege noted, they would be in tension with the transitivity of parthood. A certain small rock is a part of Etna but not of the proposition that Etna is higher than Vesuvius. So, if Etna were a part of the given proposition, parthood would fail to be transitive. As William Bynoe has noted (...) (speaking of facts rather than propositions), they would seem to violate certain supplementation principles. Consider the singular proposition, concerning identity, that it is identical with itself. Given the relevant form of Russellianism, this proposition would have identity as a proper part, but it would not have any parts disjoint from identity, and indeed it would not have even a single pair of disjoint parts, in violation of various supplementation principles. This chapter offers a unified solution to the problems about transitivity and supplementation. One key ingredient in the solution is the view that parthood is a four-place relation expressed by ‘x at y is a part of z at w’. Another key ingredient is the view that the semantic contents of predicates and sentential connectives have ‘slots’ or ‘argument positions’ in them. (Both ingredients are independently motivated elsewhere.) Four-place analogues of the transitivity and supplementation principles are set out, and it is argued that these are not threatened by the examples from Frege and Bynoe. (shrink)
Slot theory is the view that (i) there exist such entities as argument places, or ‘slots’, in universals, and that (ii) a universal u is n-adic if and only if there are n slots in u. I argue that those who take properties and relations to be abundant, fine-grained, non-set-theoretical entities face pressure to be slot theorists. I note that slots permit a natural account of the notion of adicy. I then consider a series of ‘slot-free’ accounts of that notion (...) and argue that each of them has significant drawbacks. (shrink)
I introduce a puzzle about contact and de re temporal predication in relativistic spacetime. In particular, I describe an apparent counterexample to the following principle, roughly stated: if B is never in a position to say ‘I was touching A, I am touching A, and I will be touching A’, then (time travel aside) A is never in a position to say ‘I was touching B, I am touching B, and I will be touching B’. In the case I present, (...) the most that A is ever in a position to say is: ‘I am now touching B, but this is the only instant at which this will ever be so’. B, on the other hand, can say: ‘I was formerly touching A, I am currently touching A, and I will in the future be touching A’. (And neither object is a time traveler.). (shrink)
I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
How is the debate between endurantism and perdurantism affected by the transition from pre-relativistic spacetimes to relativistic ones? After suggesting that the endurance vs. perdurance distinction may run together a pair of cross-cutting distinctions (mereological endurance vs. mereological perdurance and locational endurance vs. locational perdurance), I discuss two recent attempts to show that the transition in question does serious damage to endurantism (at least of the locational variety).
What is it for a thing to be dead? Fred Feldman holds, correctly in my view, that a definition of ‘dead’ should leave open both (1) the possibility of things that go directly from being dead to being alive, and (2) the possibility of things that go directly from being alive to being neither alive nor dead, but merely in suspended animation. But if this is right, then surely such a definition should also leave open the possibility of things that (...) go directly from being dead to being neither alive nor dead, but merely in suspended animation. I show that Feldman’s own definition of ‘dead’ (in terms of ‘lives’ and ‘dies’) does not leave this possibility open. I propose a new definition that does. (shrink)
Existing puzzles about coinciding objects can be divided into two types, corresponding to the manner in which they bear upon the endurantism v. perdurantism debate. (Endurantism is the view that material objects lack temporal extent and persist through time by being wholly present at each moment of their careers. Perdurantism is the opposing view that material objects persist by being temporally extended and having different temporal parts located at different times.) Puzzles of the first type, which involve temporary (...) spatial co-location, can be solved simply by abandoning endurantism in favor of perdurantism, whereas those of the second type, which involve career-long spatial co-location, remain equally puzzling on both views. I show that the possibility of backward time travel (either via discontinuous jumps or via closed timelike curves) would give rise to a new type of puzzle. The new puzzles confront perdurantists and can be solved just by shifting to endurantism. (shrink)
I formulate a theory of persistence in the endurantist family and pose a problem for the conjunction of this theory with orthodox versions of special or general relativity. The problem centers around the question: Where are things?
Immanent universals, being wholly present wherever they are instantiated, are capable of both multi-location and co-location. As a result, they can become involved in some bizarre situations, situations whose contradictory appearance cannot be dispelled by any of the relativizing maneuvers familiar to metaphysicials as solutions to the problem of change. Douglas Ehring takes this to be a fatal problem for immanent universals, but I do not. Although the old relativizing maneuvers don't solve the problem, I propose a new one that (...) does. I spend half the paper defending the proposed solution against objections, and in the course of this task I touch upon such topics as backward time travel and the distinction between universals and particulars. I close by putting forward -- merely as an option -- a new way to draw the distinction in question. (shrink)
According to what Barry Dainton calls the 'Strong Introspectibility thesis', it is a necessary truth that mental states S and S* are co-conscious (experienced together) if and only if they are 'jointly introspectible', i.e., if and only if it is possible for there to be some single state of introspective awareness that represents both S and S*. Dainton offers two arguments for the conclusion that joint introspectibility is unnecessary for co-consciousness. In these comments I attempt to show, first, that Dainton's (...) arguments fail, and, second, that joint introspectibility is actually insufficient for co-consciousness. (As to whether it is also unnecessary, I take no stance.). (shrink)
Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism isuntenable in the context of Minkowskispacetime. Balashov's argument runs through twomain theses concerning the relation ofcoexistence, or temporal co-location. (1)Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and inMinkowski spacetime coexistence must begrounded in the relation of spacelikeseparation. (2) If endurantism is true, then(1) leads to absurd conclusions; but ifperdurantism is true, then (1) is harmless. Iobject to both theses. Against (1), I arguethat coexistence is better construed as beingrelative to a (...) hyperplane of simultaneity.Against (2), I argue that the consequences of(1) given endurantism are no worse than theconsequences of (1) given perdurantism. (shrink)