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)
The main claim that I want to defend in this paper is that the there are logical equivalences between eternalism and perdurantism on the one hand and presentism and endurantism on the other. By “logical equivalence” I mean that one position is entailed and entails the other. As a consequence of this equivalence, it becomes important to inquire into the question whether the dispute between endurantists and perdurantists is authentic, given that Savitt (2006) Dolev (2006) and Dorato (2006) have (...) cast doubts on the fact that the debate between presentism and eternalism is about “what there is”. In this respect, I will conclude that also the debate about persistence in time has no ontological consequences, in the sense that there is no real ontological disagreement between the two allegedly opposite positions: as in the case of the presentism/eternalism debate, one can be both a perdurantist and an endurantist, depending on which linguistic framework is preferred. (shrink)
This paper considers the question whether a psychological approach to personal identity can be formulated within an endurantist, as opposed to four-dimensionalist, framework. Trenton Merricks has argued that this cannot be done. I argue to the contrary: a perfectly coherent endurantist version of the psychological approach can indeed be formulated.
Is there an entity such that it can be in two places at the same time ? According to one traditional view, properties can, since they are immanent universals. But what about objects such as a person or a table ? Common sense seems to say that, unlike properties, objects are not multiply locatable. In this paper, I will argue first of all that endurantism entails a consequence that is quite bizarre, namely, that objects are universals, while properties are (...) particulars. I then conclude by examining and rejecting two theories according to which objects can wholly be in two places at the same time. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that (non-presentist) endurantism is incompatible with the view that properties are universals. I do so by putting forward a very simple objection that forces the endurantist to embrace tropes, rather than universals. I do not claim that this is bad news for the endurantist—trope theory seems to me by all means more appealing than universals—rather, I would like to see this result as a further motivation to embrace tropes. I then also put forward a (...) (more controversial) reason to believe that at least some versions of perdurantism also require tropes rather than universals. (shrink)
Mereological challenges have recently been raised against the endurantist. For instance, Barker and Dowe (2003) have argued that eternalist endurantism entails (1) persisting objects are both 3D and 4D, and that (2) the lives of persisting objects last longer than they actually do. They also argue that presentist endurantism also entails, albeit in a tensed way, that (3) the lives of persisting objects last longer than they actually do. While they’ve further argued (2005) that the objections raised by (...) McDaniel (2003) and Beebee and Rush (2003) fail, here I show that such objections are tenable without requiring further significant metaphysical commitments; I argue that such endurantist defences are tenable, contra to prior analyses. (shrink)
Endurantists have recently faced a mereological puzzle in various forms. Here I argue that, instead of presenting a genuine worry, the puzzle actually reveals a common misunderstanding about the endurantist ontology. Furthermore, through this discussion of the alleged problem and the misunderstanding which motivates it, I reveal metaphysical commitments the endurantist has that may not be widely recognized. For instance, she’s committed to interesting and perhaps controversial views about shape and location. I highlight these commitments and what they mean for (...) the endurantist. (shrink)
Judith Thomson, David Lewis, and Ted Sider have each formulated different arguments that apparently pose problems for our ordinary claims of diachronic sameness, i.e., claims in which we assert that familiar, concrete objects survive (or persist) through time by enduring as numerically the same entity despite minor changes in their intrinsic or relational properties. In this paper, I show that all three arguments fail in a rather obvious way--they beg the question--and so even though there may be arguments that provide (...) grounds to fuss about whether our ordinary claims of diachronic sameness are defective, Thomson, Lewis, and Sider's arguments are not among them. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that time travel is problematic for the endurantist. For it appears to be possible, given time travel, to construct a wall out of a single time travelling brick. This commits the endurantist to one of the following: (a) the wall is composed of the time travelling brick many times over; (b) the wall does not in fact exist at all; (c) the wall is identical to the brick. We argue that each of these options is (...) unsatisfactory. (shrink)
There are two main theories about the persistence of objects through time: endurantism and perdurantism. Endurantists hold that objects are three-dimensional, have only spatial parts, and wholly exist at each moment of their existence. Perdurantists hold that objects are four-dimensional, have temporal parts, and only partly exist at each moment of their existence. In this paper we argue that endurantism is poorly suited to describe the persistence of objects in a world governed by Special Relativity, and can accommodate (...) a relativistic world only at a high price, one that we argue is not worth paying. Perdurantism, on the other hand, fits beautifully with our current scientific understanding of the world. Furthermore, we make this argument from implications of the Lorentz transformations, without appeals to geometrical interpretations, dimensional analogies, or auxillary premises like temporal eternalism. (shrink)
A plausible desideratum for an account of the nature of objects, at, and across time, is that it accommodate the phenomenon of vagueness without locating vagueness in the world. A series of arguments have attempted to show that while universalist perdurantism – which combines a perdurantist account of persistence with an unrestricted mereological account of composition – meets this desideratum, endurantist accounts do not. If endurantists reject unrestricted composition then they must hold that vagueness is ontological. But if they embrace (...) unrestricted composition they are faced with the problem of the many, and cannot plausibly accommodate vagueness. This paper disambiguates two related sub-problems of the problem of the many, and argues that universalist perdurantism is not superior to universalist endurantism with respect to either of these. (shrink)
1. According to a popular line of reasoning, vagueness creates a problem for the endurantist conception of persistence.1 Assuming that ordinary material objects can undergo some mereological change without thereby ceasing to exist, just how much change they can tolerate appears to be a vague matter. Surely a cat—Tibbles—can lose a few body cells, but surely it cannot lose too many of them, so it seems that we are bound to be faced with “borderline cases” in which we are unsure (...) what to say. For a perdurantist, such considerations pose no serious threat. If ordinary objects are things that persist through time by having a different temporal part at each moment at which they exist, just as they extend over space by having a different spatial part at each place at which they are found, then the borderline cases can be explained in familiar semantic terms: our linguistic practices are not precise enough to determine the exact temporal extent of the referent of such expressions as ‘Tibbles’ or ‘that cat’, just as they are not precise enough to determine the exact spatial extent of the referent of expressions such as ‘Everest’ or ‘that mountain’. By contrast, the endurantist would seem to be committed to a different account. If ordinary objects are things that persist through time by being wholly present at each moment at which they exist, and if it is indeterminate whether a certain number of body cells suffices to constitute a whole cat, then the borderline cases correspond to times at which it is indeterminate whether a cat exists at all. To the extent that our expressions for existence are not capable of harboring semantic vagueness (e.g., because they belong to our logical vocabulary), this means that the endurantist can only regard the borderline cases as a sign of epistemic or ontic vagueness—a problem. (shrink)
It is standardly assumed that there are three — and only three — ways to solve problem of temporary intrinsics: (a) embrace presentism, (b) relativize property possession to times, or (c) accept the doctrine of temporal parts. The first two solutions are favoured by endurantists, whereas the third is the perdurantist solution of choice. In this paper, I argue that there is a further type of solution available to endurantists, one that not only avoids the usual costs, but is structurally (...) identical to the temporal-parts solution preferred by perdurantists. In addition to providing a general characterization of this new type of solution, I discuss certain of its anticipations in the literature on bundle theory, as well as provide a detailed development of it in terms of my own preferred metaphysics of ordinary objects — namely, a distinctive form of substratum theory tracing to Aristotle. (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)
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)
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)
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)
The recent debate in metaontology gave rise to several types of (more or less classical) answers to questions about "equivalences" between metaphysical theories and to the question whether metaphysical disputes are substantive or merely verbal (i.e. various versions of realism, strong anti-realism, moderate anti-realism, or epistemicism). In this paper, I want to do two things. First, I shall have a close look at one metaphysical debate that has been the target and center of interest of many meta-metaphysicians, namely the problem (...) of how material objects persist through time : the endurantism vs. perdurantism controversy. It has been argued that this debate is a good example of a merely verbal one, where two allegedly competing views are in fact translatable one into each other – they end up, contrary to appearances, to be equivalent. In my closer look at this debate, I will conclude that this is correct, but only to some extent, and that there does remain room for substantive disagreement. The second thing that I wish to achieve in this paper, and that I hope will stem from my considerations about the persistence debate, is to defend a metaontological view that emphasizes that when asking the question "Are metaphysical debates substantive or verbal?" the correct answer is "It depends." Some debates are substantive, some debates are merely verbal, sometimes it is true that a problem or a question can be formulated in equally good frameworks where there is no fact of the matter as to which one is correct or where we just cannot know it. Furthermore, importantly, as my examination of the persistence debate will show, there is room for the view that a debate is largely merely verbal but not entirely and that some parts of it are substantive, and decidable by philosophical methods. It is possible, and it is the case with respect to the persistence debate, that inside a debate some points are merely verbal while other are places of substantive disagreement. A moral of this is that, at the end of the day, the best way to do meta-metaphysics is to do first-level metaphysics. (shrink)
Trenton Merricks has argued that given endurantism personal identity is unanalysable in terms of psychological continuity, while Anthony Brueckner has argued against this claim. This article shows that neither philosopher has made a compelling case and also shows what it would take to settle the issue either way. It is then argued that whether personal identity is analysable or not may not be of crucial importance to those wanting to defend a psychological continuity approach to personal identity.
Suppose that you travel back in time to talk to your younger self in order to tell her that she (you) should have done some things in her (your) life differently. Of course, you will not be able to make this plan work, we know that from the many versions of 'the grandfather paradox' that populate the philosophical literature about time travel. What will be my centre of interest in this paper is the conversation between you and ... you – (...) i.e. the older you that travelled back in time and the younger you, when you first meet. As we shall see, given this situation, endurantists will have to endorse a strange consequence of their view : you will turn out to be a universal while your properties will turn out to be particulars. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Jiri Benovsky argues that the bundle theory and the substratum theory, traditionally regarded as ‘deadly enemies’ in the metaphysics literature, are in fact ‘twin brothers’. That is, they turn out to be ‘equivalent for all theoretical purposes’ upon analysis. The only exception, according to Benovsky, is a particular version of the bundle theory whose distinguishing features render unappealing. In the present reply article, I critically analyse these undoubtedly relevant claims, and reject them.
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)
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)
In this paper, I formulate, elucidate, and defend a version of modal realism with overlap , the view that objects are literally present at more than one possible world. The version that I defend has several interesting features: (i) it is committed to an ontological distinction between regions of spacetime and material objects; (ii) it is committed to compositional pluralism , which is the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental part-whole relation; and (iii) it is the modal analogue (...) of endurantism , which is the doctrine that objects persist through time by being wholly present at each moment they are located. (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)
On the B-theory of time, the experiences we have throughout our conscious lives have the same ontological status: they all tenselessly occur at their respective dates. But we do not seem to experience all of them on the same footing. In fact, we tend to believe that only our present experiences are real, to the exclusion of the past and future ones. The B-theorist has to maintain that this belief is an illusion and explain the origin of the illusion. The (...) paper argues that this cannot be properly done unless one rejects endurantism in favor of the stage view of persistence. (shrink)
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.
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 Argument from Temporary Intrinsics is one of the canonical arguments against endurantism. I show that the two standard ways of presenting the argument have limited force. I then present a new version of the argument, which provides a more promising articulation of the underlying objection to endurantism. However, the premises of this argument conflict with the gauge theories of particle physics, and so this version of the argument is no more successful than its predecessors. I conclude that (...) no version of the Argument from Temporary Intrinsics gives us a compelling reason to favor one theory of persistence over another. (shrink)
In ?Does Four-Dimensionalism Explain Coincidence?? Mark Moyer argues that there is no reason to prefer the four-dimensionalist (or perdurantist) explanation of coincidence to the three-dimensionalist (or endurantist) explanation. I argue that Moyer's formulations of perdurantism and endurantism lead him to overlook the perdurantist's advantage. A more satisfactory formulation of these views reveals a puzzle of coincidence that Moyer does not consider, and the perdurantist's treatment of this puzzle is clearly preferable.
I consider whether the self-ascription theory can succeed in providing a tenseless (B-theoretic) account of tensed belief and timely action. I evaluate an argument given by William Lane Craig for the conclusion that the self-ascription account of tensed belief entails a tensed theory (A-theory) of time. I claim that how one formulates the selfascription account of tensed belief depends upon whether one takes the subject of selfascription to be a momentary person-stage or an enduring person. I provide two different formulations (...) of the self-ascription account of tensed belief, one that is compatible with a perdurantist account of persons and the other that is compatible with an endurantist account of persons. I argue that a self-ascription account of tensed beliefs for enduring subjects most plausibly involves the self-ascription of relations rather than properties. I argue that whether one takes the subject of self-ascription to be a momentary personstage or an enduring person, the self-ascription theory provides a plausible B-theoretic account of how tensed belief and timely action are possible. (shrink)
This is a copy of my DPhil thesis, the abstract for which is as follows: The first third of this thesis argues for a B-theoretic conception of time according to which all times exist equally and the present is in no way privileged. I distinguish "ontological" A-theories from "non-ontological" ones, arguing that the latter are experientially unmotivated and barely coherent. With regard to the former, I focus mainly on presentism. After some remarks on how to formulate this (and eternalism) non-trivially, (...) I review the non-relativistic case against presentism. I then consider the impact of Special Relativity on the debate, and attempt to deepen this impact by supplying a modal variation on the standard arguments. The middle third of the thesis investigates persistence, contending that both endurance and perdurance are consonant with the eternalism already endorsed. After introducing these theories of persistence, and discussing in particular how best to formulate an eternalist endurance, I proceed to defend the coherence of this combination. The Problem of Change is addressed here. I then respond in some detail to recent allegations of relativistic threats to endurance. The final third of the thesis questions the validity of the endurantist-perdurantist dispute. I criticize two recently proposed translation schemes that aim to show this dispute to be non-substantive. However, the second scheme suggests a doctrine of "Ontological Equivalence" which I develop and consider. I then address the Rotating Discs Argument, using this to launch a discussion of identity, genidentity, and the relationship between them. (shrink)
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).
This paper argues against the common practice of presenting perdurantism, endurantism, and other views about persistence and time as solutions to an alleged puzzle about change. Various recent attempts to generate a puzzle about change are examined and found unsuccessful. This does not mean, however, that the relevant views about persistence and time are not well motivated, but rather that their interest and purpose is independent of their suitability for solving the alleged puzzle.
I’ll start by giving a very brief summary of Sider’s position and will identify some points on which my own position differs from his. I’ll then raise four issues, viz., how to articulate the 3-dimensionalist view, the trade-offs between Ted’s stage view of persistence and endurance with respect to intrinsic properties, the endurantist’s response to the argument from vagueness, and finally more general questions about what’s at stake in the debate. I don’t believe that anything I say raises insurmountable problems (...) for Sider’s view; and in fact, I’m sure he’s in a better position to defend his view more convincingly than I’m able to defend mine. However, there is plenty worth discussing further. (shrink)
Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, (...) particularly those in (special) relativistic circumstances, it becomes clear that only a perdurance account of change is adequate. (shrink)
A standard response to the problem of diachronic vagueness is ‘the semantic solution’, which demands an abundant ontology. Although it is known that the abundant ontology does not logically preclude endurantism, their combination is rejected because it necessitates massive coincidence between countless objects. In this paper, I establish that the semantic solution is available not only to perdurantists but also to endurantists by showing that there is no problem with such ubiquitous and principled coincidence.
Roughly speaking, perdurantism is the view that ordinary objects persist through time by having temporal parts, whilst endurantism is the view that they persist by being wholly present at different times. (Speaking less roughly will be important later.) It is often thought that perdurantists have an advantage over endurantists when dealing with objects which appear to coincide temporarily: lumps, statues, cats, tail-complements, bisected brains, repaired ships, and the like. Some cases – personal fission, for example – seem to (...) involve temporary coincidence between objects of the same kind. Other cases – a cat and its flesh, a statue and its lump – seem to involve objects of different kinds. (shrink)
In ‘Essential stuff' (2008) and ‘Stuff' (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists. - Stuff composition, the thesis that for any two portions of stuff, there exists a portion of stuff that is their mereological sum (or fusion). She does this by considering competing hypotheses about stuff, trying to (...) prove inconsistency in all cases and with all corresponding understandings of mereological essentialism and stuff composition. I explain why, from an endurantist standpoint, her argument does not go through. (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)
In a recent paper, Stephen Barker and Phil Dowe (2003)1 argue that multilocation is impossible. An object enjoys multi-location just in case it is wholly present at more than one (distinct) space-time region (106). One popular view that is committed to multi-located objects is endurantism, the doctrine that objects persist through time by being wholly present at each time they are located.2 So if Barker and Dowe are right, endurantism is in big trouble.
There is an interesting parallel between two debates in different domains of contemporary analytic philosophy. One is the endurantism–perdurantism, or three-dimensionalism vs. four-dimensionalism, debate in analytic metaphysics. The other is the debate on the species problem in philosophy of biology. In this paper I attempt to cross-fertilize these debates with the aim of exploiting some of the potential that the two debates have to advance each other. I address two issues. First, I explore what the case of species (...) implies regarding the feasibility of particular positions in the endurantism– perdurantism debate. I argue that the case of species casts doubt on the recent claim that three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism are equivalent descriptions of the same underlying reality. Second, and conversely, I examine whether the metaphysical worry about three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism can help us to better understand the nature of biological species. I show that analyzing the thesis that species are individuals against the background of the endurantism–perdurantism debate allows us to explicate two different ways in which this thesis can be interpreted. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that both perdurance theory and the ‘relations-to-times’ endurantist view rely on an atemporal notion of property instantiation and relation bearing. I distinguish two possible meanings of ‘atemporal’ which result in two different understandings of what it is for an object to have a property or to bear a relation atemporally. I show that standard presentations of the theories considered are indeterminate as to which of these two understandings is the intended one. I claim that even (...) if both understandings are admissible, one of them is more attractive and has more to recommend than the other. (shrink)
According to the Weak Supplementation Principle (WSP)—a widely received principle of mereology—an object with a proper part, p , has another distinct proper part that doesn't overlap p . In a recent article in this journal, Nikk Effingham and Jon Robson employ WSP in an objection to endurantism. I defend endurantism in a way that bears on mereology in general. First, I argue that denying WSP can be motivated apart from the truth of endurantism. I then go (...) on to offer an explanation of WSP's initial appeal, argue that denying WSP fails to have untoward consequences for the rest of mereology, and show that the falsity of WSP is consistent with a primary guiding thought behind it. (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?