In this paper, I focus on three issues intertwined in current debates between endurantists and perdurantists—(i) the dimension of persisting objects, (ii) whether persisting objects have timeless, or only time-relative, parts, and (iii) whether persisting objects have proper temporal parts. I argue that one standard endurantist position on the first issue is compatible with standard perdurantist positions on parthood and temporal parts. I further argue that different accounts of persistence depend on the claims about objects' dimensions and not on (...) the auxiliary claims about parthood and temporal parts. (shrink)
This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance (...) theory says that objects persist through time by being wholly present at distinct times as numerically the same entity. Instead of endurantism, it has been argued, we have to adopt either ‘perdurantism’ or the ‘stage theory’. Perdurantism is the theory that objects are four-dimensional ‘space-time worms’ persisting through time by having distinct temporal parts at distinct times. The stage theory says that objects are instantaneous temporal parts (stages) of space-time worms, persisting by having distinct temporal counterparts at distinct times. In the thesis, it is argued that no good arguments have been provided for the conclusion that we are obliged to drop the endurance theory by acceptance of the B-theory. This conclusion stands even if the endurance theory incorporates the claim that objects endure through intrinsic change. It is also shown that perdurantism and the stage theory come with unwelcome consequences. -/- Paper I demonstrates that the main arguments for the view that objects cannot endure in B-time intrinsically unchanged fail. Papers II and III do the same with respect to the traditional arguments against endurance through intrinsic change in B-time. Paper III also contains a detailed account of the semantics of the tenseless copula, which occurs frequently in the debate. The contention of Paper IV is that four-dimensional space-time worms, as traditionally understood, are not suited to take dispositional predicates. In Paper V, it is shown that the stage theory needs to introduce an overabundance of persistence-concepts, many of which will have to be simultaneously applicable to a single object (qua falling under a single sortal), in order for the theory to be consistent. The final article, Paper VI, investigates the sense in which persistence can, as is sometimes suggested, be a ‘conventional matter’. It also asks whether alleged cases of ‘conventional persistence’ create trouble for the endurance theory. It is argued that conventions can only enter at a trivial semantic level, and that the endurance theory is no more threatened by such conventions than are its rivals. (shrink)
The eternalist endurantist and perdurantist theories of persistence through time come in various versions, namely the two versions of perdurantism: the worm view and the stage view , and the two versions of endurantism: indexicalism and adverbialism . Using as a starting point the instructive case of what is depicted by photographs, I will examine these four views, and compare them, with some interesting results. Notably, we will see that two traditional enemies—the perdurantist worm view and the endurantist (...) theories—are more like allies : they are much less different than what is usually thought, and some alleged points of central disagreement fall prey to closer scrutiny. The aim of this paper is to examine carefully all those points, and to call attention to the places where the real differences between these views lie. I will then turn to the perdurantist stage view, and claim that with respect to some central issues it is the view that is the most different from the other three, but that in some places the reason why it different is also the reason why it is less satisfactory. (shrink)
I demonstrate that the theory of persistence defended in Sider  does not accommodate our intuitions about counting sentences. I develop two theories that improve on Sider's: a contextualist theory and an error theory. I argue that the latter is stronger, simpler, and better fitted to some important ordinary language judgments than rival four-dimensionalist theories of persistence.
How do ordinary objects persist through time and across possible worlds ? How do they manage to have their temporal and modal properties ? These are the questions adressed in this book which is a "guided tour of theories of persistence". The book is divided in two parts. In the first, the two traditional accounts of persistence through time (endurantism and perdurantism) are combined with presentism and eternalism to yield four different views, and their variants. The resulting views (...) are then examined in turn, in order to see which combinations are appealing and which are not. It is argued that the 'worm view' variant of eternalist perdurantism is superior to the other alternatives. In the second part of the book, the same strategy is applied to the combinations of views about persistence across possible worlds (trans-world identity, counterpart theory, modal perdurants) and views about the nature of worlds, mainly modal realism and abstractionism. Not only all the traditional and well-known views, but also some more original ones, are examined and their pros and cons are carefully weighted. Here again, it is argued that perdurance seems to be the best strategy available. (shrink)
This paper asks whether persistence can be a matter of convention. It argues that in a rather unexciting de dicto sense persistence is indeed a matter of convention, but it rejects the notion that persistence can be a matter of convention in a more substantial de re sense. However, scenarios can be imagined that appear to involve conventional persistence of the latter kind. Since there are strong reasons for thinking that such conventionality is impossible, it is (...) desirable that our metaphysical-cum-semantic theories of persistence be able to account for such scenarios in terms of conventions of the first kind. Later parts of the article therefore investigate whether three of the currently most influential metaphysical-cum-semantic theories of persistence—the endurance theory, the stage theory, and the perdurance theory—can do this. Fortunately, for them, it turns out that all can, though some philosophers have disputed this. However, when we ask how they account for a typical case of “conventional persistence” some problematic features of the theories—having to do with reference, persistence conditions, how they relate, and the epistemology of persistence—are revealed. (shrink)
In Physics 4.11, Aristotle discusses a sophistical puzzle in which "being Coriscus-in-the-Lyceum is different from being Coriscus-in-the-market-place." I take this puzzle to threaten the persistence of changing entities. Aristotle's answer to the puzzle is that the changing thing "is the same in respect of that, by (means of) being which at any time it is (what it is), S but in definition it is different." That is, Coriscus may be described as either a persisting substrate or as one or (...) more accidental unities. Described as the former, Coriscus persists, but described as the latter, he does not. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue for a novel three-dimensionalist (3D'ist) solution to the problem of persistence, i.e. cross-temporal identity. We restrict the discussion of persistence to simple substances, which do not have other substances as their parts. The account of simple substances employed in the paper is a trope-nominalist strong nuclear theory (SNT), which develops Peter Simons' trope nominalism. Regarding the distinction between three dimensionalism (3D) and four dimensionalism (4D), we follow Michael Della Rocca's formulation, in which (...) 3D explains persistence in virtue of same entities and 4D in virtue of distinct entities (temporal parts). SNT is a 3D'ist position because it accounts for the persistence of simple substances in virtue of diachronically identical ânuclearâ tropes. The nuclear tropes of a simple substance are necessary for it and mutually rigidly dependent but distinct. SNT explains qualitative change by tropes that are contingent to a simple substance. We show that it avoids the standard problems of 3D: temporal relativization of ontic predication, Bradley's regress and coincidence, fission and fusion cases. The temporal relativization is avoided because of the analysis of temporary parts that SNT gives in terms of temporal sub-location, which is atemporal partâwhole relation. (shrink)
The ‘paradoxes of coincidence’ are generally taken as an important factor for deciding between rival views on persistence through time. In particular, the ability to deal with apparent cases of temporary coincidence is usually regarded as a good reason for favouring perdurantism (or ‘four-dimensionalism’) over endurantism (or ‘three-dimensionalism’). However, the recent work of Gilmore ( 2007 ) and McGrath ( 2007 ) challenges this standard view. For different reasons, both Gilmore and McGrath conclude that perdurantism does not really obtain (...) support from the puzzles of temporary coincidence. In this paper, I will evaluate their arguments and defend the opposite view: that the paradoxes of coincidence do give some support to perdurantism. However, the way in which they do so is rather unexpected. As we will see, there are different ways in which coincidence scenarios may be thought to support perdurantism, some of which have not yet been sufficiently explored. Thus, my immediate goal is to explore one of those directions, bringing into focus a new argument from coincidence to perdurantism. And although I motivate my discussion by examining the arguments in the work of Gilmore and McGrath, the merits of this argument can be independently assessed. More generally, my overall purpose is to contribute to our general understanding of how the topics of coincidence and persistence bear on each other. (shrink)
Realism about material objects faces a variety of epistemological objections. Recently, however, some realists have offered new accounts in response to these long-standing objections; many of which seem plausible. In this paper, I raise a new objection against realism vis-à-vis how we could empirically come to know mind-independent essential properties for objects. Traditionally, realists hold kind-membership and persistence as bound together for purposes of tracing out an object’s essential existence conditions. But I propose kind-membership and persistence for objects (...) can conceptually come apart and function epistemologically distinctly from one another—in which case the usual reliance by realists on an assumption of persistence to determine kind-membership conditions is unjustified. Thus, present realist attempts to explain how empirical detection of mind-independent essential properties for objects could possibly occur inevitably results in circularity. The charge against the realist is to explain why we don’t have to first discover persistence conditions for an object before we can ascertain kind-membership conditions for an object. If no answer is forthcoming, then it seems the weight of the epistemological objection to realism is back in full force. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalism, the stage theory version in particular, has been defended as the best solution for avoiding vagueness in regards to composition, persistence and identity. Stage theory is highly problematic by itself, and the two views usually packed with it, unrestricted composition and counterpart theory, are a heavy burden. However, dispensing with these two views, four-dimensionalism could avoid vague persistence by issuing a criterion that would establish sharp temporal boundaries for the existence of genuine entities (simples, molecules and living (...) organisms). This would avoid vague existence and vague identity, but in a way that is still compatible with endurantism. Nevertheless, a minimal (substantialist) four-dimensionalism, a worm perdurantist ontology, would fit better with the unique way in which organisms persist: by retaining both identity and intrinsic change. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue for a novel three-dimensionalist (3D'ist) solution to the problem of persistence, i.e. cross-temporal identity. We restrict the discussion of persistence to simple substances, which do not have other substances as their parts. The account of simple substances employed in the paper is a trope-nominalist strong nuclear theory (SNT), which develops Peter Simons' trope nominalism. Regarding the distinction between three dimensionalism (3D) and four dimensionalism (4D), we follow Michael Della Rocca's formulation, in which 3D (...) explains persistence in virtue of same entities and 4D in virtue of distinct entities (temporal parts). SNT is a 3D'ist position because it accounts for the persistence of simple substances in virtue of diachronically identical â€˜nuclearâ€™ tropes. The nuclear tropes of a simple substance are necessary for it and mutually rigidly dependent but distinct. SNT explains qualitative change by tropes that are contingent to a simple substance. We show that it avoids the standard problems of 3D: temporal relativization of ontic predication, Bradley's regress and coincidence, fission and fusion cases. The temporal relativization is avoided because of the analysis of temporary parts that SNT gives in terms of temporal sub-location, which is atemporal partâ€“whole relation. (shrink)
This paper revisits the question of whether propositions in situation semantics must be persistent [Kratzer (1989). Linguistics and Philosophy, 12, 607–653]. It shows that ignoring persistence causes empirical problems for theories which use quantification over minimal situations as a solution for donkey anaphora [Elbourne (2005). Situations and individuals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press]. At the same time, modifying these theories to incorporate persistence makes them incompatible with the use of situations for contextual restriction [Kratzer (2004). Ms., University of Massachusetts].
Philosophers often talk as if what it takes for a person to persist through time were up to us, as individuals or as a linguistic community, to decide. In most ordinary situations it might be fully determinate whether someone has survived or perished: barring some unforeseen catastrophe, it is clear enough that you will still exist ten minutes from now, for example. But there is no shortage of actual and imaginary situations where it is not so clear whether one survives. (...) Here reasonable people may disagree. There are "fission" cases where each of one's cerebral hemispheres is transplanted into a different head; Star-Trek-style "teletransportation" stories; actual cases of brain damage so severe that one can never again regain consciousness, even though one's circulation, breathing, digestion, and other "animal" functions continue; and stories where one's brain cells are gradually removed and replaced by cells from someone else, to name only a few favorites. (shrink)
Plausibly, if an object persists through time, then its later existence must be caused by its earlier existence. Many theists endorse a theory of continuous creation, according to which God is the sole cause of a creature's existence at a given time. The conjunction of these two theses rather unfortunately implies that no object distinct from God persists at all. What strategies for resolving this difficulty are available? (Published Online April 7 2006).
Until recently, an almost perfect parallelism seemed to hold between theories of identity through time and across possible worlds,as every account in the temporal case(endurantism,perdurantism, exdurantism) was mirrored by a twin account in the modal case (trans-world identity, identity-via-parts, identity-via-counterparts). Nevertheless, in the recent literature, this parallelism has been broken because of the implementation in the debate of the relation of location. In particular, endurantism has been subject to a more in-depth analysis, and different versions of it, corresponding to different (...) ways an entity can be located in time, emerged. In this article, we provide a precise map of the conceptions at stake, complete the debate by introducing a version of endurantism not yet considered in the debate — we call transcendentism — and show that it allows us to provide an effective interpretation of the relation of trans-world identity and an intuitive solution in the temporal case. (shrink)
I argue that for those who follow Evans in finding indeterminacy of de re identity statements problematic, ontic vagueness within a three-dimensionalist metaphysics will raise some problems that are not faced by the four-dimensionalist. For the types of strategies used to avoid de re indeterminacy within the context of ontic vagueness at-at-time, that is, spatial vagueness, are problematic within a three-dimensionalist framework when put to use within the context of ontic vagueness across-time, that is temporal vagueness.
We aim to provide the ontological grounds for an adequate account of persistence. We defend a perspectivalist, or moderate pluralist, position, according to which some aspects of reality can be accounted for in ontological terms only via partial and mutually complementary ontologies, each one of which captures some relevant aspect of reality. Our thesis here is that this is precisely the sort of ontological account that is needed for the understanding of persistence, specifically an account involving two independent (...) ontologies, one for continuants, and one for occurrents. (shrink)
The ‘friends of temporal parts’ and their opponents disagree about how things persist through time. The former, who hold what is sometimes called a ‘4D’ theory of persistence, typically claim that all objects that last for any period of time are spread out through time in the same way that spatially extended objects are spread out through space — a different part for each region that the object fills. David Lewis calls this manner of persisting ‘perdurance’. The opposing, ‘3D’ (...) theory has it that at least some objects do not persist in this manner; they ‘endure’ through time by ‘being wholly present at more than one time’.1 A related dispute pits ‘presentists’ against ‘non-presentists’. Presentists hold that the only things that really exist are those that exist now, at the present moment; and nonpresentists believe in something like a ‘block-universe’ in which non-simultaneous objects and events nevertheless co-exist (in a tenseless or non-temporal sense). Of late, the relations between these four positions have come under considerable scrutiny.2 As Ned Markosian has pointed out, it would be surprising if commitment to a perdurance or endurance theory of persistence automatically foreclosed one’s options in the presentism—non-presentism debate. But, says Markosian, that is just what the standard formulations of the perdurance and endurance theories imply.3 David Lewis has set the terms of the debate; in his usage, someone who thinks that all persisting objects endure would be said to hold the following. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine various theories of persistence through time under presentism. In Part I, I argue that both perdurantist views (namely, the worm view and the stage view) suffer, in combination with presentism, from serious difficulties and should be rejected. In Part II, I discuss the presentist endurantist view, to see that it does avoid the difficulties of the perdurantist views, and consequently that it does work, but at a price that some may consider as being very (...) high: its ontological commitments to platonic universals and to the substratum theory, that as we shall see follow from the combination of endurantism with presentism, will perhaps not be to everyone's taste. (shrink)
When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-person perspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from (...) the first-person point of view is a guide to centered possibility , a type of possibility analyzed in terms of centered worlds. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
We have two aims in this paper. The first is to provide the reader with a critical guide to recent work on relativity and persistence by Balashov, Gilmore and others. Much of this work investigates whether endurantism can be sustained in the context of relativity. Several arguments have been advanced that aim to show that it cannot. We find these unpersuasive, and will add our own criticisms to those we review. Our second aim, which complements the first, is to (...) demarcate the most defensible form of relativistic endurantism (and similarly, of perdurantism). A recurring theme of this paper is that even those philosophers who do worry about relativity have not taken it seriously enough. (shrink)
The persistence of sexual harassment in the workplace, despite the general abhorrence for the behavior and programs designed to eradicate it, is puzzling. This paper proposes that gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment and power differentials in the workplace which permit men to legitimize and institutionalize their perspective are implicated. These two phenomena combine to result in blaming the victim of sexual harassment for her own plight. Shifting attention to the target of sexual harassment facilitates the persistence (...) of sexual harassment because the institutionalized responses to the problem remain unquestioned. (shrink)
An alternative to the standard endurance/perdurance accounts of persistence has recently been developed: the stage theory (Sider, T. Four-Dimensionalism: an Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001; Hawley, K. How Things Persist. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). According to this theory, a persisting object is identical with an instantaneous stage (temporal part). On the basis of Leibniz's Law, I argue that stage theorists either have to deny the alleged identity (i.e., give up their central thesis) (...) or hold that stages are both instantaneous and continuants. I subsequently show that, although stage theory is flexible enough to accommodate the latter claim, the cost for accommodating it is an excessive proliferation of persistence concepts. (shrink)
David Lewis suggests and dismisses two ways, and endorses one further way, of visually representing persisting objects as changing over time. He argues that reflecting on these artistic observations should lead us to endorse a temporal parts theory of objects. This paper argues that Lewis's objections on these grounds to alternative theories of persistence and intrinsic change can be resisted, and that his argument in favour of his preferred method of drawing changing persisting objects fails to show that objects (...) perdure. (shrink)
Background and assumptions. Persistence and philosophy of time ; Atomism and composition ; Scope ; Some matters of methodology -- Persistence, location, and multilocation in spacetime. Endurance, perdurance, exdurance : some pictures ; More pictures ; Temporal modification and the "problem of temporary intrinsics" ; Persistence, location and multilocation in generic spacetime ; An alternative classification -- Classical and relativistic spacetime. Newtonian spacetime ; Neo-Newtonian (Galilean) spacetime ; Reference frames and coordinate systems ; Galilean transformations in spacetime (...) ; Special relativistic spacetime ; Length contraction and time dilation ; Invariant properties of special relativistic spacetime -- Persisting objects in classical spacetime. Enduring, perduring, and exduring objects in Galilean spacetime ; The argument from vagueness ; From minimal D-fusions to temporal parts ; Motivating a sharp cutoff ; Some objections and replies ; Implications -- Persisting objects in Minkowski spacetime. Enduring, perduring, and exduring objects in Minkowski spacetime ; Flat and curved achronal regions in Minkowski spacetime ; Early reflections on persisting objects in Minkowski spacetime : Quine and Smart ; "Profligate ontology"? ; Is achronal universalism tenable in Minkowski spacetime? ; "Crisscrossing" and immanent causation -- Coexistence in spacetime. The notion of coexistence ; Desiderata ; Coexistence in Galilean spacetime ; Coexistence in Minkowski spacetime : CASH ; Alexandrov-Stein present and Alexandrov-Stein coexistence ; AS-Coexistence v. CASH : symmetry, multigrade, and objectivity ; As-coexistence v. CASH : relevance ; The mixed past of coexistence ; No need in the extended now -- Strange coexistence? Coexistence and existence@ ; The asymmetry thesis ; The absurdity thesis ; Collective CASH value of coexistence ; Collective existence@ and coexistence in classical spacetime ; Collective existence@ and coexistence in Minkowski spacetime ; Contextuality ; Chronological incoherence ; Some objections -- Shapes and other arrangements in Minkowski spacetime. How rigid is a granite block? ; Perspectives in space ; Perspectives in spacetime ; Are shapes intrinsic to objects? ; The causal objection ; The micro-reductive objection ; Pegs, boards, and shapes ; Perduring objects exist. (shrink)
Although considerations based on contemporary space-time theories, such as special and general relativity, seem highly relevant to the debate about persistence, their significance has not been duly appreciated. My goal in this paper is twofold: (1) to reformulate the rival positions in the debate (i.e., endurantism [three-dimensionalism] and perdurantism [four-dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts]) in the framework of special relativistic space-time; and (2) to argue that, when so reformulated, perdurantism exhibits explanatory advantages over endurantism. The argument builds on (...) the fact that four-dimensional entities extended in space as well as time are relativistically invariant in a way three-dimensional entities are not. (shrink)
The nature of persistence of physical objects over time has been intensely debated in contemporary metaphysics. The two opposite views are widely known as "endurantism" (or "three-dimensionalism") and "perdurantism" ("four-dimensionalism"). According to the former, objects are extended in three spatial dimensions and persist through time by being wholly present at any moment at which they exist. On the rival account, objects are extended both in space and time and persist by having "temporal parts," no part being present at more (...) than one time. Relativistic considerations seem highly relevant to this debate. But they have played little role in it so far. This paper seeks to remedy that situation. I argue that considerations based on the special theory of relativity and the notion of coexistence favor perdurantism over endurantism. (shrink)
What makes a biological entity an individual? Jack Wilson shows that past philosophers have failed to explicate the conditions an entity must satisfy to be a living individual. He explores the reason for this failure and explains why we should limit ourselves to examples involving real organisms rather than thought experiments. This book explores and resolves paradoxes that arise when one applies past notions of individuality to biological examples beyond the conventional range, and presents a new analysis of identity and (...)persistence. The book's main purpose is to bring together two lines of research, theoretical biology and metaphysics, which have dealt with the same subject in isolation from one another. Wilson explains a new theory about biological individuality which solves problems which cannot be addressed by either field alone. He presents a more fine-grained vocabulary of individuation based on diverse kinds of living things, allowing him to clarify previously muddled disputes about individuality in biology. (shrink)
Pace Benovsky's ‘Presentism and Persistence,’ presentism is compatible with perdurantism, tropes and bundle-of-universals theories of persisting objects. I demonstrate how the resemblance, causation and precedence relations that tie stages together can be accommodated within an ersatzer presentist framework. The presentist account of these relations is then used to delineate a presentist-friendly account of the inter-temporal composition required for making worms out of stages. The defense of presentist trope theory shows how properties with indexes other than t may be said (...) to exist at t. This involves an account of how times other than t exist at t, and how times may be multiply located at any given time. Benovsky's objection to bundles of universals is shown to assume that a bundle of properties must have the properties of its element properties. (shrink)
The principle of belief persistence, or conservativity principle, states that ’\Nhen changing beliefs in response to new evidence, you should continue to believe as many of the old beliefs as possible' (Harman, 1986, p. 46). In particular, this means that if an individual gets new information, she has to accommodate it in her new belief set (the set of propositions she believes), and, if the new information is not inconsistent with the old belief set, then (1) the individual has (...) to maintain all the beliefs she previously had and (2) the change should be minimal in the sense that every proposition in the new belief set must be deducible from the union of the old belief set and the new information (see, e.g., Gardenfors, 1988; Stalnaker, 1984). We focus on this minimal notion of belief persistence and characterize it both semantically and syntactically. A ’possible world' semantic formalization of the principle easily comes to mind. The set of all the propositions that the individual believes corresponds to the set of states of the world that she considers possible and is a subset of the set of states that are not ruled out by the individual's information (or knowledge). It is required that, if the individual considers a state possible and her new information does not exclude this state, then she continue to consider it possible. Furthermore, if the individual regards a particular state as impossible, then she should continue to regard it as impossible unless her new information excludes all the states that she previously regarded as possible. This is closely related to the.. (shrink)
Ecological fitness has been suggested to provide a unifying definition of fitness. However, a metric for this notion of fitness was in most cases unavailable except by proxy with differential reproductive success. In this article, I show how differential persistence of lineages can be used as a way to assess ecological fitness. This view is inspired by a better understanding of the evolution of some clonal plants, colonial organisms, and ecosystems. Differential persistence shows the limitation of an ensemblist (...) noncausal understanding of evolution. Causal explanations are necessary to understand the evolution by natural selection of these biological systems. †To contact the author write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128, Station Centre‐Ville, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7 Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
This paper is about the metaphysical debate whether objects persist over time by the selfsame object existing at different times (nowadays called “endurance” by metaphysicians), or by different temporal parts, or stages, existing at different times (called “perdurance”). I aim to illuminate the debate by using some elementary kinematics and real analysis: resources which metaphysicians have, surprisingly, not availed themselves of. There are two main results, which are of interest to both endurantists and perdurantists. (1) I describe a precise formal (...) equivalence between the way that the two metaphysical positions represent the motion of the objects of classical mechanics (both point-particles and continua). (2) I make precise, and prove a result about, the idea that the persistence of objects moving in a void is to be analysed in terms of tracking the continuous curves in spacetime that connect points occupied by matter. The result is entirely elementary: it is a corollary of the Heine–Borel theorem. (shrink)
What makes an object the same persisting individual over time? Philosophers and psychologists have both grappled with this question, but from different perspectives—philosophers conceptually analyzing the criteria for object persistence, and psychologists exploring the mental mechanisms that lead us to experience the world in terms of persisting objects. It is striking that the same themes populate explorations of persistence in these two very different fields—e.g. the roles of spatiotemporal continuity, persistence through property change, and cohesion violations. Such (...) similarities may reflect an underlying connection, in that psychological mechanisms of object persistence (especially relevant parts of mid-level visual object processing) may serve to underlie the intuitions about persistence that fuel metaphysical theories. This would be a way for cognitive science to join these two disparate fields, helping to explain the possible origins and reliability of some metaphysical intuitions, and perhaps leading to philosophical progress. (shrink)
Ehring shows the inadequacy of received theories of causation, and, introducing conceptual devices of his own, provides a wholly new account of causation as the persistence over time of individual properties, or "tropes.".
Our world is full of composite objects that persist through time: dogs, persons, chairs and rocks. But in virtue of what do a bunch of little objects get to compose some bigger object, and how does that bigger object persist through time? This book aims to answer these questions, but it does so by looking at accounts of composition and persistence through a new methodological lens. It asks the question: what does it take for two theories to be genuinely (...) different, and how can we know whether what seems like metaphysical disagreement is really just semantic disagreement? By offering a framework within which to explore issues of theoretical diversity, this book provides a novel way of thinking about the inter-relationship between composition and persistence. Ultimately, it argues for a new way of thinking about these issues, a way that does not preserve the standard theoretical dichotomies between four-dimensionalist theories on the one hand, and three-dimensionalist theories on the other. (shrink)