Ignoring the temporal dimension, an object such as a railway tunnel or a human body is a three-dimensional whole composed of three-dimensional parts. The four-dimensionalist holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time—Descartes, for example—is a four-dimensional whole composed of 'briefer' four-dimensional objects, its temporalparts. Peter van Inwagen (1990) has argued that four-dimensionalism cannot be sustained, or at best can be sustained only by a counterpart theorist. We argue that different schemes of individuation of (...)temporalparts are available, which undermines van Inwagen's argument. (shrink)
Adopting temporalparts theory is the most popular way of addressing a host of puzzles about diachronic identity. For example, it is not obvious how I am the same person as the baby who shared my name. With the theory, sameness of person, e.g., consists in being comprised by the same temporally extended, four-dimensional object. However, temporalparts theory has unacceptable consequences for notions of freedom and probability. I show that the only acceptable reading of four-dimensionalism (...) entails that the four dimensional object that is me, say, already exists in its entirety. This entails that all of my future properties are already set. This nearly Spinozistic result robs us of familiar notions of choice and possibility. I argue that these notions are more central to our thinking than temporalparts theory, and that on these grounds we must look elsewhere for solutions to our questions about identity across time. (shrink)
Sider (2001) and Hawley (2001) argue that, in order to account for the mere possibility of change, temporalparts must be as fine-grained as possible change, and hence as fine-grained as time. However, when dealing with metaphysical possibility, the fine-grainedness of actual time and the fine-grainedness of possible change can come apart. Once this is taken into account, we see that, on certain assumptions about the actual microstructure of time, the modal arguments of Sider and Hawley lead to (...) the problematic claim that temporalparts are more fine-grained than time. The utility of a temporalparts theory thus seems to be sensitive to metaphysically contingent facts concerning the microstructure of time. (shrink)
I offer a clear conception of a temporal part that does not make the existence of temporalparts implausible. This can be done if (and only if) we think of physical objects as four dimensional, The fourth dimension being time. Unless we are willing to deny the existence of most spatial parts, Or willing to accept the possibility of coincident entities, Or accept something even more implausible, We should accept the existence of temporalparts.
Temporalparts are analogous to spatial parts: just as the conference has one spatial part which occupies the seminar room, and another which occupies the lecture hall, it has one temporal part which ‘occupies’ Friday and another which ‘occupies’ Saturday. These temporalparts of the conference have half-hour coffee-breaks as temporalparts of their own; these coffee-breaks are also temporalparts of the whole conference.
What is a temporal part? Most accounts explain it in terms of timeless parthood: a thing's having a part without temporal qualification. Some find this hard to understand, and thus find the view that persisting things have temporalparts—four-dimensionalism—unintelligible. T. Sider offers to help by defining temporal parthood in terms of a thing's having a part at a time. I argue that no such account can capture the notion of a temporal part that figures (...) in orthodox four-dimensionalism: temporalparts must be timeless parts. This enables us to state four-dimensionalism more clearly. (shrink)
The following quotation, from Frank Jackson, is the beginning of a typical exposition of the debate between those metaphysicians who believe in temporalparts, 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 temporalparts 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 temporalparts’ 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 temporalparts, 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 this paper, I try to make a bundle theory of objects consistentwith a temporalparts theory of object persistence. To that end,I propose that such bundles are made up of tropes includingthe co-instantiation relation.
According to the doctrine of four-dimensionalism, our world and everything in it consists of stages or temporalparts; moreover, where an object exists at various times, it does so, according to the four-dimensionalist, in virtue of having distinct temporalparts at those times. While four-dimensionalism is often motivated by its purported solutions to puzzles about material objects and their persistence through time, it has also been defended by more direct arguments. Three such arguments stand out: (1) (...) the argument from temporary intrinsics, (2) the argument from vagueness and (3) the argument from recombination, Humean supervenience and causal constraints. Not surprisingly, each of these arguments originates in the work of four-dimensionalism’s most prominent modern defender, David Lewis.1 The third of these arguments has received, by far, the least attention, critical or otherwise; it is now time to begin to address this imbalance. (shrink)
An introduction to temporalparts theory. Most of us believe in spatial parts: hands are spatial parts of people, an electron is a spatial part of a hydrogen atom, the earth is a spatial part of the solar system. Why are these parts "spatial" parts? Because they are spatially smaller: the hand is spatially smaller than the person, the electron is spatially smaller than the atom, the earth is spatially smaller than the solar system. (...)Temporalparts, then, are parts that are temporally smaller. My current temporal part, "me-today", we might call it, is temporally smaller than me, since it exists today and only today. Temporalparts theory says that objects are made up of temporal as well as spatial parts. (shrink)
The Doctrine of TemporalParts (sometimes abbreviated herein as 'DTP') asserts that, for each portion (including infinitely small portions) of the smallest period of time during which a material object exists, there is an object-a temporal part of the material object in question-which exists at that and at no other time. In "Things Change," Mark Heller offers an argument for DTP, and responds to a objection, the "No-Change" objection, to that doctrine.2 My goal in this paper is (...) to undermine both Heller's argument in favor of DTP and his response to that criticism. (shrink)
If ordinary objects have temporalparts, then temporal predications have the following truth conditions: necessarily, ( a is F) at t iff a has a temporal part that is located at t and that is F. If ordinary objects have temporal counterparts, then, necessarily, ( a is F) at t iff a has a temporal counterpart that is located at t and that is F. The temporal-parts account allows temporal predication to (...) be closed under the parthood relation: since all that is required to be F at t is to have a temporal part, a t , that is located at t and that is F, every object that has a t as a temporal part is F at t . Similarly for the temporal-counterparts account. Both closure under parthood and closure under counterparthood are shown to have unacceptable consequences. Then strategies for avoiding closure are considered and rejected. (shrink)
Hud Hudson has recently suggested a scenario intended to show that, assuming the doctrine of temporalparts and a sufficiently liberal view of composition, there are material objects that move faster than light. I accept Hudson's conditional but contend that his modus ponens is less plausible that the corresponding modus tollens. Reversed in this way, the argument stemming from the scenario raises the cost of mereological liberalism and advances the case for a principled restriction on diachronic composition.
Those who believe that ordinary things have temporal as well as spatial parts must give an account of the truth conditions of temporally modiﬁed predications of the form ‘a is F at t ’ in terms of temporalparts. I will argue that the friend of temporalparts is committed to an account of temporal predication that is incompatible with the classical principle of predicate abstraction.
To what extent is time similar to space? in this paper it is shown that the claim, Made by richard taylor among others, That time and space are "radically alike" is unfounded. This claim can be supported only by employing the notion of temporalparts. It is shown that if objects are regarded as having temporalparts as well as spatial parts, Then serious disanalogies exist between time and space. Furthermore, If objects are said to (...) have temporalparts, Then it must also be held that time is in a very important sense "prior" to space and this that time and space are not only unlike in certain respects but indeed are radically dissimilar. Moreover, The so-Called "manifold theory of time" necessarily makes use of the notion of temporalparts and therefore should hold that time and space are quite unlike. But since an important part of the manifold theory of time is the claim that time and space are very much alike, This theory is to that extent not satisfactory. (shrink)
Naive mereology studies ordinary conceptions of part and whole. Parts, unlike portions, have objective boundaries and many things, such as dances and sermons have temporalparts. In order to deal with Mark Heller's claim that temporalparts "are ontologically no more or less basic than the wholes that they compose," we retell the story of Laplace's Genius, here named "Swifty." Although Swifty processes lots of information very quickly, his conceptual repertoire need not extend beyond fundamental (...) physics. So we attempt to follow Swifty's progress in the acquisition of ordinary concepts such as 'table'. (Puzzles of precision and intrusion appear along the way.) Swifty has to understand what tables are before understanding what temporal portions of tables are. This is one reason for regarding tables as ontologically prior to table portions. intrusion appear along the way.). (shrink)
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)
The paper develops an objection to the extensional model of time consciousness—the view that temporally extended events or processes, and their temporal properties, can be directly perceived as such. Importantly, following James, advocates of the extensional model typically insist that whole experiences of temporal relations between non-simultaneous events are distinct from mere successions of their temporalparts. This means, presumably, that there ought to be some feature(s) differentiating the former from the latter. I try to show (...) why the extensional models offers no credible ground for positing such a difference. (shrink)
Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism isuntenable in the context of Minkowskispacetime. Balashov's argument runs through twomain theses concerning the relation ofcoexistence, or temporal co-location. (1)Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and inMinkowski spacetime coexistence must begrounded in the relation of spacelikeseparation. (2) If endurantism is true, then(1) leads to absurd conclusions; but ifperdurantism is true, then (1) is harmless. Iobject to both theses. Against (1), I arguethat coexistence is better construed as beingrelative to (...) a hyperplane of simultaneity.Against (2), I argue that the consequences of(1) given endurantism are no worse than theconsequences of (1) given perdurantism. (shrink)
Three Dimensionalists and Four Dimensionalists are engaged in a debate on the topics of persistence and mereology. In this paper, I explore implications of Four Dimensionalism for the formulation of the criterion of personhood and on the question of which individuals satisfy that criterion. In my discussion I argue that the Four Dimensionalist has reason to identify a human person with a proper part of a human organism, and that the Four Dimensionalist has reason to believe that if there is (...) something morally wrong with human abortion or infanticide, it cannot be grounded in claims about the moral status of persons. (shrink)
In two earlier works (Balashov, 2000a: Philosophical Studies 99, 129–166; 2000b: Philosophy of Science 67 (Suppl), S549–S562), I have argued that considerations based on special relativity and the notion of coexistence favor the perdurance view of persistence over its endurance rival. Cody Gilmore (2002: Philosophical Studies 109, 241–263) has subjected my argument to an insightful three fold critique. In the first part of this paper I respond briefly to Gilmore’s first two objections. I then grant his observation that anyone who (...) can resist the first objection is liable to succumb to the third one. This, however, opens a way to other closely related relativistic arguments against endurantism that are immune to all three objections and, in addition, throw new light on a number of important issues in the ontology of persistence. I develop two such novel arguments in the second half of the paper. (shrink)
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 temporalparts. I argue that one standard endurantist position on the first issue is compatible with standard perdurantist positions on parthood and temporalparts. I further argue that different accounts of persistence depend on the claims about objects' (...) dimensions and not on the auxiliary claims about parthood and temporalparts. (shrink)
Things change. If anything counts as a datum of metaphysics, that does. Change occurs in many ways: it can be accidental or substantial; essential or non-essential; intrinsic or extrinsic; subjective (a change in the knower) or objective (a change in the known). Changes can be physical, spatial, quantitative, qualitative, natural, artefactual, conceptual, linguistic. Events are arguably best defined as changes in an object or objects. All change is from something and into something, and hence is at least a two-term relation, (...) involving a term from which and a term to which. (shrink)
The so-called "argument from vagueness", the clearest formulation of which is to be found in Ted Sider’s book Four-dimensionalism, is arguably the most powerful and innovative argument recently offered in support of the view that objects are four-dimensional perdurants. The argument is defective--I submit--and in a number of ways that is worth looking into. But each "defect" corresponds to a model of change that is independently problematic and that can hardly be built into the common-sense picture of the world. So (...) once all the gaps of the argument are filled in, the three-dimensionalist is left with the burden of a response that cannot rely on a passive plea for common sense. The argument is not a threat to common sense as such; it is a threat to the three-dimensionalist faithfulness to common sense. (shrink)
I argue that two competing accounts of persistence, three and four dimensionalism, are in fact metaphysically equivalent. I begin by clearly defining three and four dimensionalism, and then I show that the two theories are intertranslatable and equally simple. Through consideration of a number of different cases where intuitions about persistence are contradictory, I then go on to show that both theories describe these cases in the same manner. Further consideration of some empirical issues arising from the theory of special (...) relativity lead me to conclude that the two theories are equally explanatory, and thus finally that they are metaphysically equivalent. (shrink)
Closest-continuer or best-candidate accounts of persistence seem deeply unsatisfactory, but it’s hard to say why. The standard criticism is that such accounts violate the ‘only a and b’ rule, but this criticism merely highlights a feature of the accounts without explaining why the feature is unacceptable. Another concern is that such accounts violate some principle about the supervenience of persistence facts upon local or intrinsic facts. But, again, we do not seem to have an independent justification for this supervenience claim. (...) Instead, I argue that closest continuer accounts are committed to unexplained correlations between distinct existences, and that this is their fundamental flaw. We can have independent justification for rejecting such correlations, but what the justification is depends upon much broader issues in ontology. There is no one-size-fits all objection to closest-continuer accounts of persistence. (shrink)
According to a view attractive to both metaphysicians and ethicists, every period in a person’s life is the life of a being just like that person except that it exists only during that period. These “subpeople” appear to have moral status, and their interests seem to clash with ours: though it may be in some person’s interests to sacrifice for tomorrow, it is not in the interests of a subperson coinciding with him only today, who will never benefit from it. (...) Or perhaps there is no clash, and a subperson’s interests derive from those of the person it coincides with. But this makes it likely that our own interests derive from those of other beings coinciding with us. (shrink)
The paper argues that four-dimensionalism is incompatible with the existence of additively cumulative properties, including mass, volume, and electrical charge. These properties add up over disjoint objects: for example, the mass of a whole composed of two disjoint objects is a sum of the individual masses of the objects. The difficulty with such properties for four-dimensionalism stems from the way this theory makes persistence depend on the existence of disjoint objects at disjoint times. I consider various possible responses to this (...) difficulty and conclude that they all fail. (shrink)
Human brain processes underlying real-life social interaction in everyday situations have been difficult to study and have, until now, remained largely unknown. Here, we investigated whether electrocorticography (ECoG) recorded for pre-neurosurgical diagnostics during the daily hospital life of epilepsy patients could provide a way to elucidate the neural correlates of non-experimental social interaction. We identified time periods in which patients were involved in conversations with either their respective life partners (Condition 1; C1) or attending physicians (Condition 2; C2). These two (...) conditions can be expected to differentially involve subfunctions of social interaction which have been associated with activity in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL), including the temporal poles (TP). Therefore, we specifically focused on ECoG recordings from this brain region and investigated spectral power modulations in the alpha (8-12 Hz) and theta (3-5 Hz) frequency ranges, which have been previously assumed to play an important role in the processing of social interaction. We hypothesized that brain activity in this region might be sensitive to differences in the two interaction situations and tested whether these differences can be detected by single-trial decoding. Condition-specific effects in both theta and alpha bands were observed: the left and right TP exclusively showed increased power in C1 compared to C2, whereas more posterior parts of the ATL exhibited similar (C1 > C2) and also contrary (C2 > C1) effects. Single-trial decoding accuracies for classification of these effects were highly above chance. Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to study the neural correlates of human social interaction in non-experimental conditions. Decoding the identity of the communication partner and adjusting the speech output accordingly may be useful in the emerging field of brain- machine interfacing for restoration of expressive speech. (shrink)