ThomasSattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
ThomasSattig develops a novel philosophical picture of ordinary objects such as persons, tables, and trees. He carves a middle way between classical mereology and Aristotelian hylomorphism, and argues that objects lead double lives. They are compounds of matter and form, and each object's matter and form have different qualitative profiles.
Slot mereology reduces parthood to slot-filling: a material object is structured by a certain arrangement of slots; and the fillers of these slots are the object's proper parts. My aim in this essay is to go further and reduce slot-filling to essence and grounding. In combination, the reduction of parthood to slot-filling and the reduction of slot-filling to essence and grounding yields the reduction of parthood to essence and grounding. If this overarching reduction succeeds, it promises new metaphysical foundations for (...) neo-Aristotelian mereology. (shrink)
The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of ordinary objects as (...) material objects with multiple individual forms. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalists offer a unified picture of various puzzles about identity over time, including the puzzle of fission, the puzzle of constitution and the puzzle of undetached parts. What unifies the four-dimensionalist approaches to these puzzles is the possibility of temporal overlap—the possibility for distinct continuants to share a common temporal part, or stage. I claim that the unified picture is inconsistent, if there are informative criteria of identity over time. I will show that while temporal overlap is compatible with four-dimensionalist (...) criteria of diachronic composition, temporal overlap is incompatible with any four-dimensionalist criteria of diachronic identity. (shrink)
It seems to be a platitude of common sense that distinct ordinary objects cannot coincide, that they cannot fit into the same place or be composed of the same parts at the same time. The paradoxes of coincidence are instances of a breakdown of this platitude in light of counterexamples that are licensed by innocuous assumptions about particular kinds of ordinary object. Since both the anticoincidence principle and the assumptions driving the counterexamples flow from the folk conception of ordinary objects, (...) the paradoxes threaten this conception with inconsistency. Typical approaches to the paradoxes reject the anticoincidence principle or some portion of the assumptions driving the counterexamples, thereby partially revising our common conception of the world around us. This essay offers a compatibilist solution to the paradoxes that sustains the folk conception of ordinary objects in its entirety. According to this solution, the various cases of distinct coincidents do not clash with the anticoincidence principle since the cases and the principle manifest different yet compatible perspectives on the world. (shrink)
The vast majority of philosophers of personal identity since John Locke have been convinced that the persistence of persons is not grounded in bodily continuity. Why? As numerous ‘textbooks’ on personal identity attest, their conviction rests, to a large extent, on an objection to the bodily approach, which concerns episodic memory. The objection invites us to a thought experiment in which we meet a person who experientially remembers events from the past of a person with a different body. The nature (...) of such first-personal memory-links is viewed as strongly suggesting that the rememberer is identical with the remembered, and hence, given the possibility of such a case, as suggesting that a person can transgress its bodily limits. The memory objection is as influential as it gets in the metaphysics of personal identity. Textbooks often portray it as the starting point of the contemporary debate about personal identity. And it has been widely perceived as a success. As everyone who has taught an introductory course on personal identity knows, the recognition of episodic-memory links in body-switching cases has the power to turn any group of novice students against bodily criteria of personal identity. In this essay, I shall specify and undermine the memory objection. I shall attempt to establish two theses. The first thesis is that the memory objection is only viable if construed as resting on the view that episodic memory contains a sense of personal identity, which teaches us about the reality of personal identity. The second thesis is that there is no such sense of personal identity, that episodic memory teaches us nothing at all about personal identity. (shrink)
What happens to a person in a case of ﬁssion? Does it survive? Does it go out of existence? Or is the outcome indeterminate? Since each description of ﬁssion based on the persistence conditions associated with our ordinary concept of a person seems to clash with one or more platitudes of common sense about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of macroscopic objects, ﬁssion threatens the common-sense conception of persons with inconsistency. Standard responses to this paradox agree that the common-sense conception of persons (...) is unstable, differing over which part of the conception requires revision. I will show that this entrenched view of ﬁssion is not compulsory. I will develop a solution to the paradox that maintains the consistency of the common-sense conception of persons on the basis of an ontology of persons and other ordinary objects as double-layered compounds. Each of various descriptions of the outcome of personal ﬁssion is compatible with principles about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of persons, because the descriptions and the principles manifest diﬀerent perspectives on persons and are made true or false by diﬀerent ontological components of the latter. What holds for the ﬁssion of persons, holds for the ﬁssion of other kinds of objects. (shrink)
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 temporal parts. I will argue that the friend of temporal parts is committed to an account of temporal predication that is incompatible with the classical principle of predicate abstraction.
Can our ordinary conception of macroscopic objects be transposed to the framework of relativity theory? According to common sense, ordinary objects cannot undergo radical variation in shape, whereas according to a compelling and widely accepted metaphysical picture of ordinary objects’ shapes in Minkowski spacetime, they do undergo such radical variation. This problem raises doubts about the compatibility of the ordinary conception and the relativistic conception of the world. I shall propose to reconcile common sense with relativistic metaphysics by viewing ordinary (...) objects as doublelayered compounds of matter and form. The diﬀerent layers permit diﬀerent perspectives on the objects, the one perspective focusing on form and the other focusing on matter. This ontology allows the conception of common sense and the conception of relativistic metaphysics to manifest diﬀerent and compatible perspectives on the same objects. (shrink)
Gareth Evans adduces a case in which a proper name apparently undergoes a change in referent. ‘Madagascar’ was originally the name of a part of Africa. Marco Polo, erroneously thinking he was following native usage, applied the name to an island off the African coast. Today ‘Madagascar’ is the name of that island. Evans argues that this kind of case threatens Kripke ’s picture of naming as developed in Naming and Necessity. According to this picture, the name, as used by (...) Marco Polo, referred to a part of the African mainland, since he was connected to the latter by a historical chain of communication. Since we are historically connected to Marco Polo, the name, as it is used today, still refers to the African mainland. But it doesn’t. The aim of the present paper is to give a conclusive account of the phenomenon adduced by Evans, which is compatible with Kripke ’s picture. (shrink)
Gareth Evans adduces a case in which a proper name apparently undergoes a change in referent. ‘Madagascar’ was originally the name of a part of Africa. Marco Polo, erroneously thinking he was following native usage, applied the name to an island off the African coast. Today ‘Madagascar’ is the name of that island. Evans argues that this kind of case threatens Kripke’s picture of naming as developed in Naming and Necessity. According to this picture, the name, as used by Marco (...) Polo, referred to a part of the African mainland, since he was connected to the latter by a historical chain of communication. Since we are historically connected to Marco Polo, the name, as it is used today, still refers to the African mainland. But it doesn’t. The aim of the present paper is to give a conclusive account of the phenomenon adduced by Evans, which is compatible with Kripke’s picture. (shrink)
Coincidentalism is the view that distinct material things can be composed of the same microphysical simples at the same time. The existence of distinct coincidents is incompatible with any microphysical criterion of identity over time of material composites. This incompatibility constitutes a problem for the coincidentalist only if the coincidentalist needs a microphysical criterion of identity over time. What does the coincidentalist need such a criterion for? I will show that the coincidentalist needs such a criterion for an explanation of (...) cardinal supervenience, of the thesis that facts concerning how many composite material things exist supervene on facts about microphysical simples. (shrink)
On the day before Christmas, 1170, Robert de Broc, member of a family of royal servants that had taken up King Henry II's fierce opposition to Thomas Becket, seized a horse bringing goods to the archbishop and cut off its tail. The next day, Archbishop Thomas noted this incident after his Christmas sermon when renewing his excommunication of Robert and several others, and he discussed it again four days later in his initial meeting with the men who would (...) shortly murder him. The excision of the horse's tail appears in five of the biographies of the martyr and subsequently in the national chronicles of Roger of Howden and Ralph of Diceto. Why did a minor act of cruelty inflicted on a horse seem so noteworthy to contemporaries? The sources recording it resound with the rich Latin vocabulary of shame: “dedecus, contemptus, ignominia, dehonestatio, opprobrium.” Robert's highly symbolic act, part of a pattern of harassment by the Brocs, was designed not just to threaten Becket but also to humiliate him. (shrink)
In the first systematic study of the philosophy of Thomas Nagel, Alan Thomas discusses Nagel's contrast between the "subjective" and the "objective" points of view throughout the various areas of his wide ranging philosophy. Nagel's original and distinctive contrast between the subjective view and our aspiration to a "view from nowhere" within metaphysics structures the chapters of the book. A "new Humean" in epistemology, Nagel takes philosophical scepticism to be both irrefutable and yet to indicate a profound truth (...) about our capacity for self-transcendence. The contrast between subjective and objective views is then considered in the case of the mind, where consciousness proves to be the central aspect of mind that contemporary theorising fails to acknowledge adequately. The second half of the book analyses Nagel's work on moral and political philosophy where he has been most deeply influential. Topics covered include the contrast between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons and values, Nagel's distinctive version of a hybrid ethical theory, his discussion of life's meaningfulness and finally his sceptical arguments about whether a liberal society can reconcile the conflicting moral demands of self and other. (shrink)
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were married on July 29, 2000 and divorced on October 2, 2005. If I correctly understand the position defended in ThomasSattig’s The Language and Reality of Time, this fact implies that every instantaneous region of space occupied by Brad between those dates is married to some instantaneous region occupied by Jen. Yes, the regions are married, and they are distinct from Brad and Jen. Moreover, some of them are cheating on the regions (...) to which they are married. To their discredit, they are having affairs with regions occupied by Angelina Jolie. (Shame on those regions.). (shrink)
ThomasSattig has argued recently that constitutionalism renders determinism about the actual world false, just in virtue of ordinary facts about ordinary middle-sized material objects. However, it seems that, if determinism about the actual world is false, this should be so for reasons of physics rather than in virtue of ordinary facts about ordinary objects. This is the problem of cheap indeterminism. Sattig also claims, however, that constitutionalists can solve this problem if they abandon an attractive and (...) promising solution to the classical grounding problem affecting their view. In this paper I argue that, against his claims, constitutionalists can solve the problem of cheap indeterminism and the grounding problem simultaneously. (shrink)
In an earlier work I developed an argument favoring one view of persistence (viz., perdurance) over its rivals, based on considerations of the relativity of three-dimensional spatial shapes of physical objects in Minkowski spacetime. The argument has since come under criticism (in the works of Theodore Sider, Kristie Miller, Ian Gibson, Oliver Pooley, and ThomasSattig). Two related topics, explanatory virtues and explanatory relevance, are central to these critical discussions. In this paper I deal with these topics directly (...) and respond to my critics by offering a new perspective on the issue. (shrink)
Is it necessary for all Christians – including Christians who are metaphysicians with demonstrative knowledge of God’s existence – to hold by faith that God exists? I shall approach this apparently straightforward question by investigating two opposing lines of interpretation of Thomas Aquinas’s own response to this question. I shall begin with two texts from Thomas that motivate two incompatible theses concerning Thomas’s doctrine of the harmony of faith and reason with respect to the existence of God. (...) Next, I shall clarify the salient points of disagreement between these two interpretations of faith and reason in Thomas Aquinas before examining dialectically a number of arguments in favor and against the respective theses of these two interpretations. In the final section I shall argue that the results of our dialectical inquiry reveal that the initial disagreement between the two positions is not irresolvable. Accordingly, I shall conclude by proposing two revised versions of the initial theses that emphasize the compatibility of these two interpretations of Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of the harmony of faith and reason. (shrink)
The great medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas was Dominican regent master in theology at the University of Paris, where he presided over a series of questions - academic debates - on ethical topics. This volume offers translations of disputed questions on the nature of virtues in general, the fundamental or 'cardinal' virtues of practical wisdom, justice, courage, and temperateness, the divinely bestowed virtues of hope and charity, and the practical question of how, when and why one should rebuke a 'brother' (...) for wrongdoing. The introduction explains how Aquinas's theory of virtue fits into his ethics as a whole, and it illuminates Aquinas's views by explaining the institutional and intellectual context in which these disputed questions were debated. (shrink)