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Profile: Theodore Sider (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
  1. Theodore Sider (2001). Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford University Press.
    Four-Dimensionalism defends the thesis that the material world is composed of temporal as well as spatial parts. This defense includes a novel account of persistence over time, new arguments in favour of the four-dimensional ontology, and responses to the challenges four-dimensionalism faces." "Theodore Sider pays particular attention to the philosophy of time, including a strong series of arguments against presentism, the thesis that only the present is real. Arguments offered in favour of four-dimensionalism include novel arguments based on time travel, (...)
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.) (2008). Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell Pub..
  5. 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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  6. Theodore Sider (1996). All the World's a Stage. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (3):433 – 453.
    Some philosophers believe that everyday objects are 4-dimensional spacetime worms, that a person (for example) persists through time by having temporal parts, or stages, at each moment of her existence. None of these stages is identical to the person herself; rather, she is the aggregate of all her temporal parts.1 Others accept “three dimensionalism”, rejecting stages in favor of the notion that persons “endure”, or are “wholly present” throughout their lives.2 I aim to defend an apparently radical third view: not (...)
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12.  64
    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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  13. Theodore Sider (2001). Maximality and Intrinsic Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):357 - 364.
    A property, F, is maximal iff, roughly, large parts of an F are not themselves Fs.' Maximality makes trouble for a recent analysis of intrinsicality by Rae Langton and David Lewis.
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  14. Theodore Sider (1997). Four-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
    Persistence through time is like extension through space. A road has spatial parts in the subregions of the region of space it occupies; likewise, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies. This view — known variously as four dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts, and the theory that objects “perdure” — is opposed to “three dimensionalism”, the doctrine that things “endure”, or are “wholly present”.1 I will (...)
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  15. Theodore Sider (1999). Presentism and Ontological Commitment. Journal of Philosophy 96 (7):325-347.
    Presentism is the doctrine that only the present is real. Since ordinary talk and thought are full of quantification over non-present objects, presentists are in a familiar predicament: in their unreflective moments they apparently commit themselves to far more than their ontological scruples allow. A familiar response is to begin a project of paraphrase. Truths appearing to quantify over problematic entities are shown, on analysis, to not involve quantification over those entities after all. But I think that we might be (...)
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  16. Theodore Sider (2001). Criteria of Personal Identity and the Limits of Conceptual Analysis. Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):189-209.
    It is easy to become battle-weary in metaphysics. In the face of seemingly unresolvable disputes and unanswerable questions, it is tempting to cast aside one’s sword, proclaiming: “there is no fact of the matter who is right!” Sometimes that is the right thing to do. As a case study, consider the search for the criterion of personal identity over time. I say there is no fact of the matter whether the correct criterion is bodily or psychological continuity.1 There exist two (...)
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  17.  26
    Theodore Sider (2013). Replies to Dorr, Fine, and Hirsch. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):733-754.
    No categories
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  18. 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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  19.  42
    Theodore Sider (2004). Replies to Gallois, Hirsch and Markosian. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):674–687.
  20.  82
    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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  21.  76
    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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  22.  53
    Theodore Sider (1999). Global Supervenience and Identity Across Times and Worlds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (4):913-937.
    The existence and importance of supervenience principles for identity across times and worlds have been noted, but insufficient attention has been paid to their precise nature. Such attention is repaid with philosophical dividends. The issues in the formulation of the supervenience principles are two. The first involves the relevant variety of supervenience: that variety is global, but there are in fact two versions of global supervenience that must be distinguished. The second involves the subject matter: the names “identity over time” (...)
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  23.  65
    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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  24.  37
    Theodore Sider (2014). Outscoping and Discourse Threat. Inquiry 57 (4):413-426.
    Sometimes we 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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  25.  68
    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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  26.  84
    Theodore Sider (2009). Against Vague and Unnatural Existence: Reply to Liebesman and Eklund. Noûs 43 (3):557 - 567.
  27. 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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  28. Theodore Sider (1993). Van Inwagen and the Possibility of Gunk. Analysis 53 (4):285 - 289.
    We often speak of an object being composed of various other objects. We say that the deck is composed of the cards, that a road is the sum total of its sections, that a house is composed of its walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc. Suppose we have some material objects. Here is a philosophical question: what conditions must obtain for those objects to compose something? In his recent book Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen addresses this question, which he calls the (...)
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  29.  68
    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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  30.  82
    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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  31. R. Cranston Paull & Theodore Sider (1992). In Defense of Global Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):833-53.
    Nonreductive materialism is the dominant position in the philosophy of mind. The global supervenience of the mental on the physical has been thought by some to capture the central idea of nonreductive materialism: that mental properties are ultimately dependent on, but irreducible to, physical properties. But Jaegwon Kim has argued that global psychophysical supervenience does not provide the materialist with the desired dependence of the mental on the physical, and in general that global supervenience is too weak to be an (...)
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  32.  57
    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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  33. Theodore Sider (2014). Hirsch's Attack on Ontologese. Noûs 48 (3):565-572.
  34.  31
    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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  35. 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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  36. Theodore Sider (2000). The Stage View and Temporary Intrinsics. Analysis 60 (1):84 - 88.
    Four-dimensionalism, as I’ll use the term, is the doctrine that reality is spread out in time as well as space.1 Just as objects that are located at multiple regions of space contain parts confined to those regions of space, so objects that are located at multiple regions of time contain parts — temporal parts — that are confined to those regions of time. (Or better: an object that occupies an extended spatiotemporal region R has parts confined to the various subregions (...)
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  37. 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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  38. Theodore Sider (1995). Sparseness, Immanence, and Naturalness. Noûs 29 (3):360-377.
    In the past fifteen years or so there has been a lot of attention paid to theories of “sparse” universals, particularly because of the work of D. M. Armstrong. These theories are of particular interest to those of us concerned with the distinction between natural and non-natural properties, since, as David Lewis has observed, it seems possible to analyze naturalness in terms of sparse universals. Moreover, Armstrong claims that we should conceive of universals as being “immanent” as opposed to “transcendent”, (...)
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  39.  73
    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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  40. 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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  41. Theodore Sider (1996). Intrinsic Properties. Philosophical Studies 83 (1):1 - 27.
    An intrinsic property, as David Lewis puts it, is a property "which things have in virtue of the way they themselves are", as opposed to an extrinsic property, which things have "in virtue of their relations or lack of relations to other things".1 Having long hair is an intrinsic property; having a long-haired brother is not. Intuitive as this notion is (and valuable in doing philosophy, I might add), it seems to resist analysis. Analysis, that is, to “quasi-logical” notions such (...)
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  42.  50
    Theodore Sider (2004). Précis of Four-Dimensionalism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642–647.
  43.  80
    Theodore Sider (2015). Nothing Over and Above. Grazer Philosophische Studien 91:191-216.
    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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  44.  34
    Theodore Sider (1995). Three Problems for Richard's Theory of Belief Ascription. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):487 - 513.
    Some contemporary Russellians, defenders of the view that the semantic content of a proper name, demonstrative or indexical is simply its referent, are prepared to accept that view’s most infamous apparent consequence: that coreferential names, demonstratives, indexicals, etc. are intersubstitutable salva veritate, even in intentional contexts. Nathan Salmon and Scott Soames argue that our recalcitrant intuitions with respect to the famous apparent counterexamples are not semantic intuitions, but rather pragmatic intuitions. Strictly and literally speaking, Lois Lane believes, and even knows (...)
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  45. Theodore Sider (1996). Naturalness and Arbitrariness. Philosophical Studies 81 (2-3):283 - 301.
    Peter Forrest and D.M. Armstrong have given an argument against a theory of naturalness proposed by David Lewis based on the fact that ordered pairs can be constructed from sets in any of a number of different ways. 1. I think the argument is good, but requires a more thorough defense. Moreover, the argument has important consequences that have not been noticed. I introduce a version of Lewis’s proposal in section one, and then in section two I present and defend (...)
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  46.  67
    Theodore Sider (2013). Summary of Writing the Book of the World. Analysis 73 (4):713-715.
    Summary of _Writing the book of the world_, to introduce a book symposium on it.
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  47.  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.  80
    Theodore Sider (2000). Recent Work on Identity Over Time. Philosophical Books 41 (2):81–89.
    I am now typing on a computer I bought two years ago. The computer I bought is identical to the computer on which I type. My computer persists over time. Let us divide our subject matter in two. There is first the question of criteria of identity, the conditions governing when an object of a certain kind, a computer for instance, persists until some later time. There are secondly very general questions about the nature of persistence itself. Here I include (...)
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  49. Theodore Sider (1992). Tooley's Solution to the Inference Problem. Philosophical Studies 67 (3):261 - 275.
    In response to various shortcomings of regularity theories of natural law, some philosophers of a realist bent have recently been drawn to the view that a law of nature is a relation between universals. Heading this group are Michael Tooley and D. M. Armstrong.
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  50. 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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