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Profile: Theodore Sider (Cornell University)
  1. Theodore Sider, Beyond the Humphrey Objection.
    I defend counterpart theory against post-Kripkean objections. Trenton Merricks objects that no construction of ersatz counterparts is uniquely and intrinsically suitable; I reply that metaphysical constructions need not have these features. Sarah Moss refutes my solution (from "All the world's a stage") to the problem of timeless counting for temporal counterpart theory; I offer a new solution. Hazen, Fara, Williamson, and others have objected that counterpart theory generates an unacceptable logic for an actuality operator; I attempt to give a better (...)
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  2. Theodore Sider (forthcoming). Nothing Over and Above. Grazer Philosophische Studien.
    The slogan “the whole is nothing over and above the parts” and related vague thoughts animate many theories of parthood and arguably are central to our ordinary conception. I examine some issues connected with this slogan.
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  3. Theodore Sider (2014). Consequences of Collapse. In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. 211-221.
    "Composition as identity" is the radical claim that the whole is identical to the parts - radical because it implies that a single object can be identical to many objects. Composition as identity, together with auxiliary assumptions, implies the principle of "collapse": an object is one of some things if and only it is part of the fusion of those things. Collapse has important implications: the comprehension principle of plural logic must be restricted, plural definite descriptions such as "the Cheerios (...)
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  4. Theodore Sider (2014). Hirsch's Attack on Ontologese. Noûs 48 (3):565-572.
  5. Theodore Sider (2014). Outscoping and Discourse Threat. Inquiry 57 (4):413-426.
    For various philosophical purposes it is sometimes necessary to give truth-conditions for sentences of a discourse in other terms. According to Agustín Rayo, when doing so it is sometimes legitimate to use the terms of that very discourse, so long as the terms do not occur in the truth-conditions themselves. I argue that giving truth-conditions in this ?outscoping? way prevents one from answering ?discourse threat? (for example, the threat of indeterminacy).
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  6. Theodore Sider (2013). Against Parthood. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
    Mereological nihilism says that there do not exist (in the fundamental sense) any objects with proper parts. A reason to accept it is that we can thereby eliminate 'part' from fundamental ideology. Many purported reasons to reject it - based on common sense, perception, and the possibility of gunk, for example - are weak. A more powerful reason is that composite objects seem needed for spacetime physics; but sets suffice instead.
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  7. Theodore Sider (2013). Précis of Writing the Book of the World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):706-708.
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  8. Theodore Sider (2013). Replies to Dorr, Fine, and Hirsch. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):733-754.
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  9. Theodore Sider (2013). Symposium on Writing the Book of the World. Analysis 73 (4):751-770.
    These are my replies to critics (Contessa, Dorr, Fine, Hirsch, Merricks, Schaffer) from two symposia on my book, Writing the Book of the World.
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  10. Theodore Sider (2012). The Evil of Death: What Can Metaphysics Contribute? In Ben Bradley, Fred Feldman & Jens Johansson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Death.
    For most us, learning which quantum theory correctly describes human bodies will not affect our attitudes towards our loved ones. On the other hand, a child’s discovery of the nature of meat (or an adult’s discovery of the nature of soylent green) can have a great effect. In still other cases, it is hard to say how one would, or should, react to new information about the underlying nature of what we value—think of how mixed our reactions are to evidence (...)
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  11. Theodore Sider (2011). Writing the Book of the World. Oxford University Press.
    In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. In this ambitious and ground-breaking book, Theodore Sider argues that for a representation to be fully successful, truth is not enough; the representation must also use the right concepts--concepts that 'carve at the joints'--so that its conceptual structure matches reality's structure. There is an objectively correct way to 'write the book of the world'. Sider's argument begins from the assertion that metaphysics is about the fundamental structure (...)
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  12. Theodore Sider (2010). Logic for Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Logic for Philosophy is an introduction to logic for students of contemporary philosophy. It is suitable both for advanced undergraduates and for beginning graduate students in philosophy. It covers (i) basic approaches to logic, including proof theory and especially model theory, (ii) extensions of standard logic that are important in philosophy, and (iii) some elementary philosophy of logic. It emphasizes breadth rather than depth. For example, it discusses modal logic and counterfactuals, but does not prove the central metalogical results for (...)
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  13. Twelve Monkeys, Slaughterhouse Five, Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sider, David Lewis, David Deutsch & Michael Lockwood (2009). Space and Time. In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  14. Theodore Sider (2009). Against Vague and Unnatural Existence: Reply to Liebesman and Eklund. Noûs 43 (3):557 - 567.
  15. Theodore Sider (2009). Ontological Realism. In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    In , Peter van Inwagen asked a good question. (Asking the right question is often the hardest part.) He asked: what do you have to do to some objects to get them to compose something---to bring into existence some further thing made up of those objects? Glue them together or what?1 Some said that you don’t have to do anything.2 No matter what you do to the objects, they’ll always compose something further, no matter how they are arranged. Thus we (...)
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  16. Theodore Sider (2009). Williamson's Many Necessary Existents. Analysis 69 (2):250-258.
    This note is to show that a well-known point about David Lewis’s (1986) modal realism applies to Timothy Williamson’s (1998; 2002) theory of necessary existents as well.1 Each theory, together with certain “recombination” principles, generates individuals too numerous to form a set. The simplest version of the argument comes from Daniel Nolan (1996).2 Assume the following recombination principle: for each cardinal number, ν, it’s possible that there exist ν nonsets. Then given Lewis’s modal realism it follows that there can be (...)
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  17. Theodore Sider (2008). Monism and Statespace Structure. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83 (62):129-150.
    Exotic ontologies are all the rage. Distant from common sense and often science as well, views like mereological essentialism, nihilism, and fourdimensionalism appeal to our desire to avoid arbitrariness, anthropocentrism, and metaphysical conundrums.1 Such views are defensible only if they are materially adequate, only if they can “reconstruct” the world of common sense and science. (No disrespect to the heroic metaphysicians of antiquity, but this world is not just an illusion.) In the world of common sense and science, bicycles survive (...)
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  18. Theodore Sider (2008). Yet Another Paper on the Supervenience Argument Against Coincident Entities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):613-624.
    Statues and lumps of clay are said by some to coincide - to be numerically distinct despite being made up of the same parts. They are said to be numerically distinct because they differ modally. Coincident objects would be non-modally indiscernible, and thus appear to violate the supervenience of modal properties on nonmodal properties. But coincidence and supervenience are in fact consistent if the most fundamental modal features are not properties, but are rather relations that are symmetric as between coincident (...)
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  19. Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.) (2008). Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell Pub..
    In a series of thought-provoking and original essays, eighteen leading philosophers engage in head-to-head debates of nine of the most cutting edge topics in contemporary metaphysics. Explores the fundamental questions in contemporary metaphysics in a series of eighteen original essays - 16 of which are newly commissioned for this volume Features an introductory essay by the editors on the nature of metaphysics to prepare the reader for ongoing discussions Offers readers the unique opportunity to observe leading philosophers engage in head-to-head (...)
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  20. David Braun & Theodore Sider (2007). Vague, So Untrue. Noûs 41 (2):133 - 156.
    According to an old and attractive view, vagueness must be eliminated before semantic notions — truth, implication, and so on — may be applied. This view was accepted by Frege, but is rarely defended nowadays.1 This..
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  21. Theodore Sider (2007). Against Monism. Analysis 67 (1):1–7.
    Jonathan Schaffer distinguishes two sorts of monism. Existence monists say that only one object exists: The World. Priority monists admit the existence of The World’s parts, but say that their features are derivative from the properties of The World. Both have trouble explaining the features of statespace, the set of possibilities available to The World.
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  22. Theodore Sider (2007). Neo-Fregeanism and Quantifier Variance. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):201–232.
    NeoFregeanism is an intriguing but elusive philosophy of mathematical existence. At crucial points, it goes cryptic and metaphorical. I want to put forward an interpretation of neoFregeanism—perhaps not one that actual neoFregeans will embrace—that makes sense of much of what they say. NeoFregeans should embrace quantifier variance.
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  23. Theodore Sider (2007). Parthood. Philosophical Review 116 (1):51-91.
    There will be a few themes. One to get us going: expansion versus contraction. About an object, o, and the region, R, of space(time) in which o is exactly located,1 we may ask: i) must there exist expansions of o: objects in filled superregions2 of R? ii) must there exist contractions of o: objects in filled subregions of..
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  24. Theodore Sider (2007). Temporal Parts. In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell Pub.. 241--262.
    An introduction to temporal parts theory. Most of us believe in spatial parts: hands are spatial parts of people, an electron is a spatial part of a hydrogen atom, the earth is a spatial part of the solar system. Why are these parts "spatial" parts? Because they are spatially smaller: the hand is spatially smaller than the person, the electron is spatially smaller than the atom, the earth is spatially smaller than the solar system. Temporal parts, then, are parts that (...)
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  25. Thomas E. Brown, Maria Cerezo, Earl Conee, Theodore Sider, John Cottingham & Sandra M. Dingli (2006). Appearance in This List Neither Guarantees nor Precludes a Future Review of the Book. Albus, James S., and Alexander M. Meystel, Engineering of Mind: An Introduction to the Science of Intelligent Systems, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001, Pp. Xv+ 411,£ 57.50 Aristotle, Translated by Glen Coughlin, Physics, Or Natural Hearing, South Bend, Indi. [REVIEW] Mind 115:457.
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  26. Theodore Sider (2006). Bare Particulars. Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):387–397.
    One often hears a complaint about “bare particulars”. This complaint has bugged me for years. I know it bugs others too, but no one seems to have vented in print, so that is what I propose to do. (I hope also to say a few constructive things along the way.) The complaint is aimed at the substratum theory, which says that particulars are, in a certain sense, separate from their universals. If universals and particulars are separate, connected to each other (...)
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  27. Theodore Sider (2006). Identidade pessoal. Critica.
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  28. Theodore Sider (2006). Quantifiers and Temporal Ontology. Mind 115 (457):75-97.
    Eternalists say that non-present entities (for instance dinosaurs) exist; presentists say that they do not. But some sceptics deny that this debate is genuine, claiming that presentists simply represent eternalists' quantifiers over non-present entities in different notation. This scepticism may be refuted on purely logical grounds: one of the leading candidate ‘presentist quantifiers’ over non-present things has the inferential role of a quantifier. The dispute over whether non-present objects exist is as genuine and non-verbal as the dispute over whether there (...)
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  29. Theodore Sider & David Braun (2006). Review: Kripke's Revenge. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 128 (3):669 - 682.
    Millianism says that the semantic content of a name (or indexical) is simply its referent. This thesis arises within a general, powerful research program, the propositionalist approach to semantics, which sets as a goal for philosophical semantics an assignment of entities — semantic contents — to bits of language, culminating in the assignment of propositions to sentences. Communication, linguistic competence, truth conditions, and other semantic phenomena are ultimately explained in terms of semantic contents. Over 100 years ago Frege (1952/1892) pointed (...)
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  30. José Luis Bermudez, Martijn Blaauw, Ruth M. J. Byrne, C. Casadio, P. J. Scott, R. A. G. Seely, R. G. Collingwood, Earl Conee, Theodore Sider & Ian Dearden (2005). Appearance in This List Neither Guarantees nor Precludes a Future Review of the Book. Bartsch, Renate, Memory and Understanding: Concept Formation in Proust's A la Recher-Che du Temps Perdu, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin's Publishing Company, 2005, Pp. Ix+ 158, $114.00,€ 95.00. Bermudez, Jose Luis, Philosophy of Psychology: A Contemporary Introduction, London. [REVIEW] Mind 114:456.
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  31. Theodore Sider (2005). Another Look at Armstrong's Combinatorialism. Noûs 39 (4):679–695.
    The core idea of David Armstrong’s combinatorial theory of possibility is attractive. Rearrangement is the key to modality; possible worlds result from scrambling bits and pieces of other possible worlds. Yet I encounter great difficulty when trying to formulate the theory rigorously, and my best attempts are vulnerable to counterexamples. The Leibnizian biconditionals relate possibility and necessity to possible world and true in.
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  32. Theodore Sider (2005). Travelling in A- and B- Time. The Monist 88 (3):329-335.
    Some say that presentism precludes time travel into the past since it implies that the past does not exist, but this is a bad argument. Presentism says that only currently existing entities exist, and that the only properties and relations those entities instantiate are those that they currently instantiate. This does in a sense imply that the past does not exist. But if that precluded time travel into the past, it would also preclude the one-second-per-second “time travel” into the future (...)
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  33. Theodore Sider & Earl Conee (2005/2007). Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics. Oxford.
    No philosophical background is required to enjoy this book: anyone who has thought about life's most profound questions will find plenty to provoke and entertain them here.
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  34. Theodore Sider (2004). Objects and Persons. Mind 113 (449):195-198.
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  35. Theodore Sider (2004). Précis of Four-Dimensionalism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642–647.
    I defend the spatio-temporal ontology of Russell, Smart, Quine, and Lewis, including four-dimensionalism (the doctrine of temporal parts, on my usage) and eternalism (realism about past and future objects). Presentism (the main rival to eternalism) is mistaken because it is difficult to reconcile with special relativity, because it requires reality to have noncategorical fundamental features, and because the presentist's tensed language cannot express the fundamental facts of space-time structure. Three-dimensionalism (the rejection of temporal parts) is mistaken because it precludes the (...)
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  36. Theodore Sider (2004). Review of Trenton Merricks, Objects and Persons. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (449):195–198.
    Many otherwise reasonable philosophers are impatient with ontology. These philosophers will probably have little time for Objects and Persons, which claims that while there do exist “atoms arranged statuewise”, there do not exist statues; while there do exist atoms arranged tablewise and atoms arranged chairwise, there exist no tables and chairs. Though I join these philosophers, at the end of the day, in rejecting Merricks’s claims, that day is long, whereas they want a quick verdict. But why? Do our impatient (...)
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  37. Theodore Sider (2004). Review: Précis of "Four-Dimensionalism&Quot;. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642 - 647.
    This is an overview of my book, Four-Dimensionalism. The spatiotemporal metaphysics of Russell, Smart, Quine and Lewis is a blend of separable components concerning time, persistence, mereology, and even semantics, unified by the theme that space and time are analogous: eternalism (past and future objects are just as real as current objects); the reducibility of tense (tensed utterances have tenseless truth conditions; 'now' is an indexical); four-dimensionalism: temporal parts exist; unrestricted composition (all objects, however scattered, have a mereological sum, or (...)
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  38. Theodore Sider (2004). Replies to Gallois, Hirsch and Markosian. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):674–687.
  39. Theodore Sider (2003). Against Vague Existence. Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):135 - 146.
    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 (...)
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  40. Theodore Sider (2003). Maximality and Microphysical Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):139-149.
    A property, F, is maximal i?, roughly, large parts of an F are not themselves Fs. Maximal properties are typically extrinsic, for their instantiation by x depends on what larger things x is part of. This makes trouble for a recent argument against microphysical superve- nience by Trenton Merricks. The argument assumes that conscious- ness is an intrinsic property, whereas consciousness is in fact maximal and extrinsic.
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  41. Theodore Sider (2003). Reductive Theories of Modality. In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. 180-208.
    Logic begins but does not end with the study of truth and falsity. Within truth there are the modes of truth, ways of being true: necessary truth and contingent truth. When a proposition is true, we may ask whether it could have been false. If so, then it is contingently true. If not, then it is necessarily true; it must be true; it could not have been false. Falsity has modes as well: a false proposition that could not have been (...)
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  42. Theodore Sider (2003). Review: What's so Bad About Overdetermination? [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):719 - 726.
    The intimate relationship between X and Y consists in the existence of (metaphysically) necessary truths correlating their occurrences/existences/instantiations. E would be in some sense “overdetermined” if caused by both X and Y.2 Some philosophers say this would be bad, that this cannot or does not happen, that we should construct theories ruling it out, at least in certain cases.3 But why? Given the necessary truths correlating objects and their parts, objects and events concerning those objects, physical and supervenient mental properties, (...)
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  43. Theodore Sider, Against Vague Existence, Jim Stone & Evidential Atheism (2003). Learned to Stop Worrying and Let the Children Drown 1–22 Jonathan Schaffer/Overdetermining Causes 23–45 Sharon Ryan/Doxastic Compatibilism and the Ethics of Belief 47–79 Sarah Mcgrath/Causation and the Making/Allowing. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 114:293-294.
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  44. John Hawthorne & Theodore Sider (2002). Locations. Philosophical Topics 30 (1):53-76.
    Think of “locations” very abstractly, as positions in a space, any space. Temporal locations are positions in time; spatial locations are positions in (physical) space; particulars are locations in quality space. Should we reify locations? Are locations entities? Spatiotemporal relation- alists say there are no such things as spatiotemporal locations; the fundamental spatial and temporal facts involve no locations as objects, only the instantiation of spatial and temporal relations. The denial of locations in quality space is the bundle theory, according (...)
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  45. Theodore Sider (2002). ``Hell and Vagueness&Quot. Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):58--68.
    A certain conception of Hell is inconsistent with God’s traditional attributes, or so I will argue. My argument is novel in focusing on considerations involving vagueness. The target doctrine of Hell is part of a “binary” conception of the afterlife, by which I mean one with the properties of dichotomy, badness, non-universality, and divine control. Dichotomy: there are exactly two states in the afterlife, Heaven and Hell. After death each person will come to be, determinately, in exactly one of these (...)
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  46. Theodore Sider (2002). Hell and Vagueness. Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):58-68.
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  47. Theodore Sider (2002). Review of Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons and Bodies. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophy 99 (1):45-48.
    Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard account”.1 It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in Sameness and Substance2, and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But in (...)
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  48. Theodore Sider (2002). The Ersatz Pluriverse. Journal of Philosophy 99 (6):279-315.
    While many are impressed with the utility of possible worlds in linguistics and philosophy, few can accept the modal realism of David Lewis, who regards possible worlds as sui generis entities of a kind with the concrete world we inhabit.1 Not all uses of possible worlds require exotic ontology. Consider, for instance, the use of Kripke models to establish formal results in modal logic. These models contain sets often regarded for heuristic reasons as sets of “possible worlds”. But the “worlds” (...)
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  49. Theodore Sider (2002). Time Travel, Coincidences and Counterfactuals. Philosophical Studies 110 (2):115 - 138.
    In no possible world does a time traveler succeed in killing herearlier self before she ever enters a time machine. So if many,many time travelers went back in time trying to kill theirunprotected former selves, the time travelers would fail inmany strange, coincidental ways, slipping on bananapeels, killing the wrong victim, and so on. Such cases producedoubts about time travel. How could ``coincidences'' beguaranteed to happen? And wouldn't the certainty of coincidentalfailure imply that time travelers are not free to killtheir (...)
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  50. Andre Gallois & Theodore Sider (2001). Reviews-Occasions of Identity. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):401-406.
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