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)
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)
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)
I argue that the conjunction of perdurantism (the view that objects are temporally extended) and universalism (the thesis that any old class of things has a mereological fusion) gives rise to undesired complications when combined with certain plausible assumptions concerning the semantics of tensed statements.
Universalism (the thesis that for any ys, those ys compose a further object) is an answer to the Special Composition Question. In the literature there are three arguments (the arguments from elegance) that are often relied upon, but rarely examined in-depth. I argue that these motivations cannot be had by the perdurantist, for to avoid a commitment to badly behaved superluminal objects perdurantists must answer the Proper Continuant Question. Any answer to that question necessarily ensures that there is a restricted (...) answer to the Special Composition Question that is just as elegant as universalism. Thus, if you are a perdurantist, the arguments from elegance fail to motivate universalism for there will always be a restricted composition that is just as good. (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)
I show that the Eternalist faces a trilemma. Given their theory of time, three claims are each very plausible, yet together form an inconsistent triad. Denying any one of these claims will have significant consequences for how they can conceive of the material realm. I urge that the best strategy is to deny the first claim, and show that this would have a significant consequence: Perdurantism is false.
If musical works are abstract objects, which cannot enter into causal relations, then how can we refer to musical works or know anything about them? Worse, how can any of our musical experiences be experiences of musical works? It would be nice to be able to sidestep these questions altogether. One way to do that would be to take musical works to be concrete objects. In this paper, we defend a theory according to which musical works are concrete objects. In (...) particular, the theory that we defend takes musical works to be fusions of performances. We defend this view from a series of objections, the first two of which are raised by Julian Dodd in a recent paper and the last of which is suggested by some comments of his in an earlier paper. (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)
Conc 2: Charitable reconstructions are available. Conc 3: But these lead to worrying results. (POM) Conc 4: Further weakening prevents it from playing the “survival is intrinsic” role in fission arguments.
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)
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.
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)
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 the contemporary debate about the nature of persistence, stage theory is the view that ordinary objects (artefacts, animals, persons, etc.) are instantaneous and persist by being suitably related to other instantaneous objects. In this paper I focus on the issue of what stage theorists should say about the semantics of ordinary proper names, like ‘Socrates’ or ‘London’. I consider the remarks that stage theorists actually make about this issue, present some problems they face, and finally offer what I take (...) to be the best alternative available for them. (shrink)
This paper defends stage theory against the argument from diachronic counting. It argues that stage theorists can appeal to quantifier domain restriction in order to accommodate intuitions about diachronic counting sentences. Two approaches involving domain restriction are discussed. According to the first, domains of counting are usually restricted to stages at the time of utterance. This approach explains intuitions in many cases, but is theoretically costly and delivers wrong counts if diachronic counting is combined with fission or fusion. On the (...) second approach, domains of counting are usually restricted in an indeterminate way, so as to include at most one member of any maximal class of counterpart-interrelated stages (with respect to a certain utterance). This view can accommodate all the relevant intuitions about counting sentences, and it fits well with a new stage-theoretic view of reference that allows speakers to refer to both present and past stages. (shrink)
If ordinary particulars are bundles of properties, and if properties are said to be universals, then three well-known objections arise : no particular can change, all particulars have all of their properties essentially (even the most insignificant ones), and there cannot be two numerically distinct but qualitatively indiscernible particulars. In this paper, I try to make a little headway on these issues and see how the objections can be met, if one accepts a certain view about persistence through time and (...) across possible worlds – namely, four-dimensionalism and its modal analogue. The paper is especially devoted to the second and third of the three objections. (shrink)
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 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)
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)
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)
Four-dimensionalism, or perdurantism, the view that temporally extended objects persist through time by having (spatio-)temporal parts or stages, includes two varieties, the worm theory and the stage theory. According to the worm theory, perduring objects are four-dimensional wholes occupying determinate regions of spacetime and having temporal parts, or stages, each of them confined to a particular time. The stage theorist, however, claims, not that perduring objects have stages, but that the fundamental entities of the perdurantist ontology are stages. I (...) argue that considerations of special relativity favor the worm theory over the stage theory. (shrink)
The paper takes off from the problem of finding a proper content for the relation of identity as it holds or fails to hold among ordinary things or substances. The necessary conditions of identity are familiar, the sufficient conditions less so. The search is for conditions at once better usable than the Leibnizian Identity of Indiscernibles (independently suspect) and strong enough to underwrite all the formal properties of the relation.It is contended that the key to this problem rests at the (...) level of metaphysics and epistemology alike with a sortalist position. Sortalism is the position which insists that, if the question is whether a and b are the same, it has to be asked what are they? Any sufficiently specific answer to that question will bring with it a principle of activity or functioning and a mode of behaviour characteristic of some particular kind of thing by reference to which questions of persistence or non-persistence through change can be adjudicated.These contentions are illustrated by reference to familiar examples such as the human zygote, the Ship of Theseus and Shoemaker's Brown-Brownson. The first example is hostage for a mass of unproblematical cases. The problems presented by the second and third sort of examples arise chiefly (it is claimed) from an incompleteness in our conceptions of the relevant sort—the what the thing in question is. That incompleteness need not prevent us from knowing perfectly well which thing we are referring to. In the concluding section, sortalism is defended against various accusations of anthropocentrism.The paper touches on the interpretation of Heraclitus, Leibniz's theory of clear indistinct ideas, the difficulties of David Lewis's ‘perdurantist’ or stroboscopic view of persistence, four-dimensionalism, and the relation of personal identity both to experiential memory and to the particular bodily physiognomy of a subject. At some points—as in connection with the so-called Only a and b rule—the paper corrects, supplements or extends certain theses or formulations proposed in the author's Sameness and Substance Renewed (2001). (shrink)
In this paper, I show how a solution to Lewis’ problem of temporary intrinsics is also a response to McTaggart’s argument that the A-series is incoherent. There are three strategies Lewis considers for solving the problem of temporary intrinsics: perdurantism, presentism, and property-indexing. William Lane Craig (Analysis 58(2):122–127, 1998) has examined how the three strategies fare with respect to McTaggart’s argument. The only viable solution Lewis considers to the problem of temporary intrinsics that also succeeds against McTaggart, Craig claims, (...) is presentism. This gives us prima facie reason to be presentists. But there is a strategy Craig does not consider-indexing, or relativizing, the copula. In this paper, I show that to the degree that indexing the copula solves the problem of temporary intrinsics, it also shows the invalidity of McTaggart’s argument. The upshot: the copula-indexer needn’t affirm the unreality of time, nor need she embrace presentism. (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)
Recently, Cody Gilmore has deployed an ingenious case involving backwards time travel to highlight an apparent conflict between the theory that objects persist by perduring, and the thesis that wholly coincident objects are impossible. However, careful attention to the concepts of location and parthood that Gilmore’s cases involve shows that the perdurantist faces no genuine objection from these cases, and that the perdurantist has a number of plausible and dialectically appropriate ways to avoid the supposed conflict.
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 following quotation, from Frank Jackson, is the beginning of a typical exposition of the debate between those metaphysicians who believe in temporal parts, and those who do not: The dispute between three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism, or more precisely, that part of the dispute we will be concerned with, concerns what persistence, and correllatively, what change, comes to. Three-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by being wholly present at that time, and, accordingly, that it persists if it is (...) wholly present at more than one time. For short, it persists by enduring. Four-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by having a temporal part at that time, and it persists if it has distinct temporal parts at more than one time. For short, it persists by perduring (Jackson 1998, p. 138). In the light of these comments, some readers will perhaps ﬁnd the question that forms the title of this paper a little puzzling. They may have learned to use the terms ‘fourdimensionalism’ ‘perdurantism’ and ‘belief in temporal parts’ interchangeably; or perhaps even to deﬁne one in terms of the other. Such a usage, however, is inapposite. We might imagine a Flatland-like world of two spatial dimensions and one temporal, whose philosophers are divided between a theory of persistence on which they persist by having temporal parts, and a theory on which they persist by being wholly located in each of several times. This is just the same issue we face, but at least the label ‘four-dimensionalism’ seems inapposite: the four-dimensionalist Flatlanders believe in only three dimensions! (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.
This paper argues that, in light of certain scenarios involving time travel, Sider’s definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’ cannot be accepted in conjunction with a semantic thesis that perdurantists often assume. I examine a rejoinder from Sider, as well as Thomson’s alternative definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’, and show how neither helps. Given this, we should give up on the perdurantist semantic thesis. I end by recommending that, once we no longer accept such semantics, we should accept a new set (...) of definitions, which are superior in certain respects to Sider’s original set. (shrink)
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)
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)
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.
A work of music is repeatable in the following sense: it can be multiply performed or played in different places at the same time, and each such datable, locatable performance or playing is an occurrence of it: an item in which the work itself is somehow present, and which thereby makes the work manifest to an audience. As I see it, the central challenge in the ontology of musical works is to come up with an ontological proposal (i.e. an account (...) of what sort of thing a work of music is) which enables us to explain what such repeatability consists in, whilst doing maximal justice to the way in which we conceive of musical works in our reflective critical and appreciative practice. To this end, many have found it tempting to defend some version or other of the type-token theory : the thesis that a work is a type and its occurrences are its tokens. Much of the early debate prompted by the publication of Jerrold Levinson's seminal 'What a Musical Work Is' in 1980 has taken the type-token theory for granted, choosing to focus on how musical works, qua types, are individuated. (A key question here has been whether we should hold, with the sonicist , that works are identical just in case they sound exactly alike; or whether we should agree with Levinson's contextualist thesis that exact sound-alikes are distinct, if composed in distinct musico-historical contexts.) More recently, however, the type-token theory itself has been put under pressure, and alternatives have been suggested. So, e.g. Gregory Currie and David Davies have held versions of the thesis that musical works (and artworks generally) are acts of composition, whilst Guy Rohrbaugh has recommended that we think more innovatively about our metaphysical categories, and treat musical works (along with all repeatable artworks) as historical individuals . Historical individuals, like particular substances, come into and go out of existence, could have been somewhat different than they are, and can change through time; but such items, unlike particular substances, are nonetheless capable of having occurrences. In the last few years, ontologists of music have also stepped back to consider the very nature of their enterprise. In particular, a debate has ensued concerning the cogency of ontological proposals (such as those of Nelson Goodman, Nicholas Wolterstorff and Julian Dodd) that are substantially revisionary of our folk concept of a work of music. Amie Thomasson, David Davies and Andrew Kania occupy, to a greater or lesser degree, the descriptivist standpoint, according to which such revisionary ontologies are misconceived. The debate between revisionists and descriptivists in the ontology of music – if prosecuted against the backdrop of an awareness of developments in meta-ontology more generally – is a particularly fertile area in the philosophy of music at present. Author Recommends Wollheim, Richard. Art and its Objects . 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. This seminal study nicely introduces and motivates the type-token theory, and in the course of doing so, helpfully, although perhaps contentiously, distinguishes types from both sets and properties. Wollheim's treatment was to a large part responsible for stimulating the subsequent debate as to the ontological nature of musical works. Levinson, Jerrold. 'What a Musical Work Is.' Journal of Philosophy 77 (1980); reprinted in his Music, Art and Metaphysics , 63–88. This paper has, perhaps, been the most influential account of the nature of musical works, post-Wollheim. Presuming the type-token theory to be correct, Levinson elaborates it by claiming musical works to be, not sound structures (i.e. structured patterns of sound-types), but a species of types he calls indicated structures . According to Levinson, a work of music is not to be identified with its sound structure, S ; it is, in fact, a compound of S and a performance-means structure, PM , as indicated (typically, via a score) by its composer on a certain occasion : something that we can represent as S/PM -as-indicated-by- X -at- t . Such indicated structures, Levinson argues, fit the bill for being what works of music are, because they come into being with their indication (i.e. their composition), are individuated in terms of the musico-historical context in which they were composed, and have their specified performance-means (i.e. their instrumentation) essentially. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Works and Worlds of Art . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. Part I of this book sees Wolterstorff defend a Platonistic version of the type-token theory (although Wolterstorff calls them 'kinds' rather than 'types'). According to Wolterstorff, considerations about the existence conditions of types commit us to the thesis that works of music, qua types, are entities that cannot come into or go out of existence. Kivy, Peter. 'Platonism in Music: A Kind of Defence.' Grazer Philosophische Studien 19 (1983): 109–29. In this article, Kivy ingeniously (and wittily) defends a variety of Platonism about works of music against the animadversions of Levinson. Currie, Gregory. An Ontology of Art . New York: St, Martin's Press, 1989. Here Currie introduces and defends the thesis that works of music (and, indeed, all artworks) are compositional action-types. The book also contains some well-aimed criticisms of Levinson's account. Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. In this book, Dodd defends the type-token theory, but argues that no version of it can escape the Platonisic consequence that musical works exist at all times (and hence, are discovered, rather than created, by their composers). Dodd also defends another controversial thesis, this time concerning musical works' individuation. According to Dodd, and pace Levinson and others, sonicism is correct: works that sound exactly alike are identical. Rohrbaugh, Guy. 'Artworks as Historical Individuals.' European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2003): 177–205. In this essay, Rohrbaugh makes some pointed criticisms of the type-token theory of repeatable artworks in the course of arguing that such works should be viewed, not as types, but as historical individuals (see above). Rohrbaugh suggests that treating musical works as historical individuals best captures our intuitions about such works' temporal and modal characteristics, and, in the course of elaborating his position, he makes some meta-ontological claims that see him endorsing a non-revisionary, descriptivist approach to the ontology of art. As Rohrbaugh sees it, ontologies of art are 'beholden to our artistic practices' (179), and 'aesthetics should not be beholden to the metaphysics on offer, but rather should drive new work in metaphysics' (197). Ridley, Aaron. 'Against Musical Ontology,' Journal of Philosophy 100 (2003): 203–220. This paper sees Ridley outlining a sceptical attitude towards the project of formulating ontological proposals. In his view, a 'serious philosophical engagement with music is orthogonal to, and may well in fact be impeded by, the pursuit of ontological issues' (203). Thomasson, Amie. 'The Ontology of Art and Knowledge in Aesthetics.' JAAC 63 (2005:221–9). Thomasson defends descriptivism in the ontology of art by arguing that such a position is a consequence of the only defensible solution to a problem in the theory of reference: the so-called 'qua' problem concerning how the reference of a term can be fixed. Davies, David. Art as Performance . Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Davies' position is characterised by two theses: one methodological, the other ontological. The methodological claim is that the ontology of art faces a pragmatic constraint : roughly speaking, the ontology of art is answerable to the epistemology of art. The ontological claim is that the rigorous enforcement of the pragmatic constraint commits us to the thesis that all artworks are compositional action-tokens. Online Materials http://www.blackwell-compass.com/subject/philosophy/article_view?article_id=phco_articles_bpL173 Dodd, Julian. 'Musical Works: Ontology and Meta-Ontology.' Philosophy Compass 3/6 (2008): 1113–34. doi: [DOI link] http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118557784/abstract Thomasson, Amie. 'Debates about the Ontology of Art: What are We Doing Here?' Philosophy Compass 1/3 (2006): 245–55. doi: [DOI link] http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122517227/abstract Davies, David. 'Works and Performances in the Performing Arts.' forthcoming in Philosophy Compass . doi: [DOI link] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/music/ Kania, Andrew. 'The Philosophy of Music.' Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Sample Mini-Syllabus Week 1: The Type/Token Theory Introduced Wollheim, Richard. Art and its Objects , §§4–8, 21–3, 35–7. Kivy, Peter. Introduction to a Philosophy of Music , chapter 11. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002. Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology , chapter 1. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Works and Worlds of Art , chapter 2. Week 2: The Type/Token Theory and Platonism in Music Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Works and Worlds of Art , chapter 2. Levinson, Jerrold. 'What a Musical Work Is'. Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology , chapters 2–5. Kivy, Peter. 'Platonism in Music: A Kind of Defence.' Grazer Philosophische Studien 19 (1983): 109–29. Kivy, Peter. 'Platonism in Music: Another Kind of Defence.' American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1987): 245–52. Predelli, Stefano. 'Against Musical Platonism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 35 (1995): 338–50. Caplan, Ben and Carl Matheson. 'Can a Musical Work be Created?' British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2004): 113–34. Week 3: Musical Works as Indicated Structures Levinson, Jerrold. 'What a Musical Work Is'. Levinson, Jerrold. 'What a Musical Work Is, Again', in his Music, Art and Metaphysics . Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1990. 215–63. Dodd, Julian. 'Musical Works as Eternal Types.' British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (2000). Davies, Stephen. Musical Works and Performances: A Philosophical Account , chapter 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Howell, Robert. 'Types, Indicated and Initiated.' British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2002): 105–27. Caplan, Ben and Carl Matheson. 'Fine Individuation.' British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2007): 113–37. Week 4: Musical Work as Historical Individuals Rohrbaugh, Guy. 'Artworks as Historical Individuals'. Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology , chapter 6. Caplan, Ben and Carl Matheson. 'Defending Musical Perdurantism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (2006): 59–69. Caplan, Ben and Carl Matheson. 'Defending "Defending Musical Perdurantism".' British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008): 331–37. Week 5: Musical Works as Compositional Actions Currie, Gregory. An Ontology of Art . New York: St, Martin's Press, 1989. Davies, David. Art as Performance . Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Dodd, Julian. Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology , chapter 7. Week 6: Meta-ontology of Music: What are we Doing When we do the Ontology of Music? Ridley, Aaron. 'Against Musical Ontology'. Thomasson, Amie. 'The Ontology of Art and Knowledge in Aesthetics'. Thomasson, Amie. Ordinary Objects , chapter 11. OUP, 2007. Davies, David. 'The Primacy of Practice in the Ontology of Art.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2009): 159–72. Kania, Andrew. 'Piece for the End of Time: In Defence of Musical Ontology,' British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008): 65–79. Kania, Andrew. 'The Methodology of Musical Ontology: Descriptivism and its Implications.' British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008): 426–44. Cameron, Ross. 'There are No Things That are Musical Works.' British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008): 295–314. Dodd, Julian. 'Musical Works: Ontology and Meta-Ontology.' Philosophy Compass 3/6 (2008): 1113–1134. doi: [DOI link] Focus Questions 1. Are musical works literally created by their composers? 2. Critically examine Levinson's thesis that musical works are 'indicated structures'. 3. What, if anything, is wrong with the thesis that musical works are identical just in case they sound exactly alike? 4. Should we immediately be sceptical of ontological proposals for works of music that are substantially revisionary of the way in which we ordinarily think of them? (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)
For those who think the statue and the piece of copper that compose it are distinct objects that coincide, there is a burden of explanation. After all, common sense says that different ordinary objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. A common argument in favour of four-dimensionalism (or ?perdurantism? or ?temporal parts theory?) is that it provides the resources for a superior explanation of this coincidence. This, however, is mistaken. Any explanatory work done by the four-dimensionalist (...) notion of absolute parthood rests ultimately on notions equally available to the three-dimensionalist. Thus, a neutral explanation of coincidence is at least as good while avoiding commitment to temporal parts. ?Many thanks to David Christensen, Louis deRosset, Matti Eklund, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. (shrink)
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)
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)
One way of understanding the reduplicative formula "Christ is, ’qua’ God, omniscient, but ’qua’ man, limited in knowledge" is to take the occurrences of the ‘qua‘ locution as picking out different parts of Christ: a divine part and a human part. But this view of Christ as a composite being runs into paradox when combined with the orthodox understanding of the Incarnation, according to which Christ is identical to the second person of the Trinity. In response, we have to choose (...) between modifying the orthodox understanding, adopting a philosophically and theologically contentious perdurantist account of persistence through time, or rejecting altogether the idea of the composite Christ. (shrink)
Pace Benovsky's ‘Presentism and Persistence,’ presentism is compatible with perdurantism, tropes and bundle-of-universals theories of persisting objects. I demonstrate how the resemblance, causation and precedence relations that tie stages together can be accommodated within an ersatzer presentist framework. The presentist account of these relations is then used to delineate a presentist-friendly account of the inter-temporal composition required for making worms out of stages. The defense of presentist trope theory shows how properties with indexes other than t may be said (...) to exist at t. This involves an account of how times other than t exist at t, and how times may be multiply located at any given time. Benovsky's objection to bundles of universals is shown to assume that a bundle of properties must have the properties of its element properties. (shrink)
In this paper I examine whether the Humean denial of necessary connections between wholly distinct contingent existents poses problems for a theory of tropes. In section one I consider the substance-attribute theory of tropes. I distinguish first between three versions of the non-transferability of a trope from the substratum in which it inheres and then between two versions of the denial of necessary connections. I show that the most plausible combination of these views is consistent. In section two I consider (...) an objection to the bundle theory using the Humean doctrine that is advanced by Armstrong, and argue that it is unconvincing. In section three I return to the version of non-transferability that would cause obvious trouble for a substance-attribute theory, and less obvious trouble for a bundle theory. I argue that there is independent reason to reject this principle since, given a perdurantist metaphysic, it does not in fact secure what appeared to be its only benefit: namely that it allows tropes to act as truthmakers. I conclude that there is no objection to trope theory per se on the grounds that it brings commitment to necessary connections. (shrink)
In ‘Location and Perdurance’ (2010), I argued that there are no compelling mereological or sortal grounds requiring the perdurantist to distinguish the molecule Abel from the atom Abel in Gilmore’s original case (2007). The remaining issue Gilmore originally raised concerned the ‘mass history’ of Adam and Abel, the distribution of ‘their’ mass over spacetime. My response to this issue was to admit that mass histories needed to be relativised to a way of partitioning the location of Adam/Abel, but that did (...) not amount to relativising any fundamental natural intrinsic properties—the latter are all had unrelativised, and (so most perdurantists would say). (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)