Persistence

Edited by A. P. Taylor (North Dakota State University)
About this topic
Summary What is it for an object to persist over an interval of time? How is persistence achieved? Do objects exist through changes in their intrinsic properties or do such changes cause the object to go out of existence only to be replaced by another more or less similar object? The theory of persistence tries to give principled answers to the these questions, drawing on theoretical physics, philosophical intuition and argumentation, and careful reflection on the phenomenology of objects. The most popular answers to these questions are represented by a pair of competing theories: endurantism, the view according to which objects endure, or "sweep," through time taking all their three-dimensional parts with them; and perdurantism, the view according to which objects are composites or "worms" of temporal parts existing in a four-dimensional spacetime manifold.   A third important theory is the "stage" theory favored by some perdurantists, on this view objects are, strictly speaking, identical with momentary temporal parts or "stages" in a four-dimensional spacetime manifold and to say they persist is merely a facon de parle.  
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  1. Growing Younger.Daniel Vázquez - forthcoming - Rhizomata.
    I argue that in Plato’s Parmenides 141a6-c4, things in time come to be simultaneously older and younger than themselves because a thing’s past and present selves are both real. As a result, whatever temporal relation is predicated of any of these past and present selves is true of the thing in question. Unlike other interpretations, this reading neither assumes that things in time have to replace their parts, nor that time is circular. I conclude that the passage is committed to (...)
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  2. How to Deal with the Puzzle of Coincident Objects.Ataollah Hashemi - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Alberta
    The grounding problem is related to the puzzle of numerically distinct spatiotemporally coincident objects. Suppose Lumpl –a lump of clay– and Goliath – the statue – are created and later destroyed, simultaneously. They would share all of their physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations. But, Goliath and Lumpl have different modal and sortal properties, which would suggest they are distinct entities, while at the same time entirely co-located. This issue creates a puzzle and raises the question of how two distinct (...)
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  3. Philosophy of Time A Contemporary Introduction.Sean Enda Power - forthcoming - Routledge.
    As a growing area of research, the philosophy of time is increasingly relevant to different areas of philosophy and even other disciplines. This book describes and evaluates the most important debates in philosophy of time, under several subject areas: metaphysics, epistemology, physics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, rationality, and art. -/- Questions this book investigates include: Can we know what time really is? Is time possible, especially given modern physics? Must there be time because we cannot think (...)
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  4. Constitution, Vague Objects, and Persistence.Radim Bělohrad - 2019 - Prolegomena: Časopis Za Filozofiju 18 (1):5–26.
    In this paper, I assess the analysis of vagueness of objects in terms of the theory of constitution with respect to the notion of vague identity. Some proponents of the constitution theory see it as an advantage of their account that analysing the spatial and temporal vagueness of objects in terms of the relation of vague constitution avoids commitment to vague identity, which is seen as a controversial notion. I argue that even though the constitution theory may plausibly be applied (...)
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  5. Fleeting Things and Permanent Stuff: A Priorean Project in Real Time.Paul Needham - 1997 - In Uwe Scheffler and Max Urchs Jan Faye (ed.), Perspectives on Time. Dordrecht, Nederländerna: pp. 119-141.
    Prior left us with a problem which he stated in the following way: ‘Very roughly, it would seem that countable “things” are made or grow from bits of stuff, or from other countable “things”, that are already there. The precise logic of this process hasn’t been worked out yet, and until it has been, it seems likely that any tensed predicate logic can only be provisional in character.’ Although I disagree with much of the philosophy of time underlying Priorean tense (...)
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  6. Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis: Volume 1: Causation, Modality, Ontology.Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.) - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    The life-long correspondence of David K. Lewis, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, reveals the development, breadth, and depth of his philosophy in its historical context. The first of this two volume collection of letters focuses on his contributions to metaphysics, arguably where he made his greatest impact.
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  7. Persistence Reconsidered.Florian Fischer - 2017 - In Logic and Philosophy of Time: Themes from Prior. Aalborg, Dänemark: pp. 151-166.
  8. Are My Temporal Parts Agents?Alexander Dietz - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (2):362-379.
    When we think about ethics, we normally focus on a particular sort of agent: the individual person. Some philosophers have argued that we should rethink the limits of what counts as an ethically relevant unit of agency by expanding outward, and claiming that groups of people can have normative reasons for action. In this paper, I explore whether we can go in the other direction. Are there sub‐personal beings who count as agents with their own reasons for action? In particular, (...)
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  9. Temporal Dynamics: A Phenomenologically Based Alternative to Four-Dimensionalist and “Point-Endurantist” Views of Time.Andrew W. Lamb - 2001 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):235-259.
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  10. Esistenza e Persistenza.Damiano Costa - 2018 - Milan, IT: Mimesis.
    Nel nostro universo, qualunque cosa, dalla più piccola particella alla più smisurata galassia, esiste in un qualche tempo e in un qualche luogo. Ma cosa significa esistere in un qualche tempo? Il fenomeno dell’esistenza temporale gioca un ruolo fondamentale nella comprensione dell’universo e di noi stessi quali creature temporali. Eppure è un fenomeno profondamente misterioso. L’esistenza temporale è da intendersi come una relazione? Che legami ha con l’esistenza dell’ontologia? L’esistenza temporale e la localizzazione spaziale sono due fenomeni essenzialmente differenti o (...)
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  11. Powers, Persistence and Process.Anne Sophie Meincke - forthcoming - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism. Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands:
    Stephen Mumford has argued that dispositionalists ought to be endurantists because perdurantism, by breaking down persisting objects in sequences of static discrete existents, is at odds with a powers metaphysics. This has been contested by Neil Williams who offers his own version of ‘powerful’ perdurance where powers function as links between the temporal parts of persisting objects. Weighing up the arguments given by both sides, I show that the profile of ‘powerful’ persistence crucially depends on how one conceptualises the processes (...)
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  12. Memory, Organisms and the Circle of Life.Rina Tzinman - 2018 - In Valerio Buonomo (ed.), The Persistence of Persons. Studies in the metaphysics of personal identity over time. Neunkirchen-Seelscheid: pp. 243-273.
  13. Macroscopic Metaphysics: Middle-Sized Objects and Longish Processes.Paul Needham - 2017 - Springer.
    This book is about matter. It involves our ordinary concept of matter in so far as this deals with enduring continuants that stand in contrast to the occurrents or processes in which they are involved, and concerns the macroscopic realm of middle-sized objects of the kind familiar to us on the surface of the earth and their participation in medium term processes. The emphasis will be on what science rather than philosophical intuition tells us about the world, and on chemistry (...)
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  14. Persons, Stages, and Tensed Belief.Nicholas Rimell - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (3):577-593.
    Perdurantists hold that we persons—just like other ordinary objects—persist by perduring, by having temporal parts, or stages, located over time. Perdurantists also standardly endorse the B-theory of time. And, in light of this endorsement, they typically characterize our tensed beliefs as self-ascriptions of properties, made not by us but by our stages. For instance, for me to believe that Angela Merkel is currently the chancellor of Germany is for my now-located stage to self-ascribe the property of being simultaneous with Merkel’s (...)
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  15. Structural Powers and the Homeodynamic Unity of Organisms.Christopher J. Austin & Anna Marmodoro - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 169-184.
    Although they are continually compositionally reconstituted and reconfigured, organisms nonetheless persist as ontologically unified beings over time – but in virtue of what? A common answer is: in virtue of their continued possession of the capacity for morphological invariance which persists through, and in spite of, their mereological alteration. While we acknowledge that organisms‟ capacity for the “stability of form” – homeostasis - is an important aspect of their diachronic unity, we argue that this capacity is derived from, and grounded (...)
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  16. “The Retroactivity Problem,”.Barbara Levenbook - 2010 - In Campbell and Silverstein O'Rourke (ed.), Time and Identity (Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, vol. 6). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. pp. 297-308.
    This chapter discusses the retroactivity problem and how it arises when the idea that events occurring after a person’s life can harm that person is pursued. The common objection to this dilemma is the “no subject” type of response. The retroactivity problem is the result of making several assumptions jointly, many of which are initially plausible but none of which are actually defended. The first of these assumptions is referred to as Worse-Off, which states that an event harms a person (...)
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  17. Time, Persistence, and Causality: Towards a Dynamic View of Temporal Reality.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Dissertation, Umeå University
    The thesis revolves around the following questions. What is time? Is time tensed or tenseless? Do things endure or perdure, i.e. do things persist by being wholly present at many times, or do they persist by having temporal parts? Do causes bring their effects into existence, or are they only correlated with each other? Within a realist approach to metaphysics, the author claims that the tensed view of time, the endurance view of persistence, and the production view of causality naturally (...)
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  18. Two Fundamentally Different Perspectives on Time.Jesse Mulder - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (3):295-320.
    Frege taught us how to understand one form of predication: an atemporal one. There is also a different, temporal form of predication, which I briefly introduce. Accordingly, there are two fundamentally different approaches to time: a reductive one, aiming to account for time in terms of Frege’s atemporal predication, and a non-reductive one, insisting that the temporal form of predication is sui generis, and that time is to be understood in its terms. I do not directly argue for or against (...)
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  19. Persistence.David Oderberg - 2009 - In J. Kim, E. Sosa & G. Rosenkrantz (eds.), A Companion to Metaphysics. 2nd Edition. pp. 55-65.
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  20. The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time.Gary Rosenkrantz - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):728-736.
    I am happy to report that serious metaphysics is alive and well in the work of Jonathan Lowe. His recent book The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time is a major contribution to analytical metaphysics; it confirms Lowe’s standing as a leading figure in the field.
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  21. Reply to Lowe.D. E. Over - 1986 - Analysis 46 (4):201.
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  22. Noonan, 'best candidate' theories and the ship of Theseus.B. J. Garrett - 1985 - Analysis 45 (4):212.
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  23. Quantities Enduring in Time: On Quantities in Time.Antonina Kowalska - 2008 - Dialogue and Universalism 18 (9-10):27-38.
    Despite changeability of the world, the human mind also ponders on those quantities that remain constant over time. This was the case in ancient times, in the middle ages, and the same applies in modern physics. This paper discusses i.a. Zenon paradoxes, the principle of inertia, and the Emma Noether theorem, ending with the modern, so-called Zeno’s quantum effect. The foot-notes concern the ancient “Achilles” paradox, spot speed, as well as some of the facts taken out of the life-history of (...)
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  24. Causation and Persistence: A Theory of Causation. [REVIEW]Jerrold L. Aronson - 2003 - International Studies in Philosophy 35 (4):237-239.
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  25. Lewis, Change and Temporary Intrinsics.Mario Alai - 2016 - Axiomathes 26 (4):467-487.
    This is an attempt to sort out what is it that makes many of us uncomfortable with the perdurantist solution to the problem of change. Lewis argues that only perdurantism can reconcile change with persistence over time, while neither presentism nor endurantism can. So, first, I defend the endurantist solution to the problem of change, by arguing that what is relative to time are not properties, but their possession. Second, I explore the anti-perdurantist strategy of arguing that Lewis cannot solve (...)
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  26. An Alternative to Endurantism and Perdurantism: Doing Without Occupants.Benedikt Schick, Edmund Runggaldier & Ludger Honnefelder - 2009 - In Benedikt Schick, Edmund Runggaldier & Ludger Honnefelder (eds.), Unity and Time in Metaphysics. Walter de Gruyter.
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  27. How Do Things Persist? Location Relations in Physics and the Metaphysics of Persistence.Thomas Pashby - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):269-309.
    This paper investigates the use of theories of mechanics to provide answers to questions in the metaphysics of spatial location and persistence. Investigating spatial location, I find that in classical physics bodies pertend the region of space at which they are exactly located, while a quantum system spans a region at which it is exactly located. Following this analysis, I present a ‘no-go’ result which shows that quantum mechanics restricts the available options for locational persistence theories in an interesting way: (...)
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  28. Bringing Back Intrinsics to Enduring Things.Andreas C. Bottani - 2016 - Synthese:1-22.
    According to David Lewis, the argument from temporary intrinsics is ‘the principal and decisive objection against endurance’. I focus on eternalist endurantism, discussing three different ways the eternalist endurantist can try to avoid treating temporary intrinsics as relational. Two of them, generally known as ‘adverbialism’ and ‘SOFism’, are familiar and controversial. I scrutinize them and argue that Lewis’ scepticism about them is well founded. Then, I sketch a further, to some extent new, version of eternalist endurantism, where the key idea (...)
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  29. Is There a Problem About Persistence?Mark Johnston & Graeme Forbes - 1987 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 61 (1):107-156.
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  30. Wholly Otherwise1.Saitya Brata Das - 2008 - Journal for Cultural Research 12 (2):167-180.
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  31. Paradoxes of Multi-Location.S. Barker & P. Dowe - 2003 - Analysis 63 (2):106-114.
  32. Cardinality and Identity.Massimiliano Carrara & Elisabetta Sacchi - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (5):539-556.
    P.T. Geach has maintained (see, e.g., Geach (1967/1968)) that identity (as well as dissimilarity) is always relative to a general term. According to him, the notion of absolute identity has to be abandoned and replaced by a multiplicity of relative identity relations for which Leibniz's Law - which says that if two objects are identical they have the same properties - does not hold. For Geach relative identity is at least as good as Frege's cardinality thesis which he takes to (...)
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  33. Occasional Identity or Occasional Reference?H. E. Baber - 2015 - Prolegomena 14 (2):157-166.
    André Gallois argues that individuals that undergo fission are on some occasions identical, but on others distinct. Occasional identity however, is metaphysically costly. I argue that we can get all the benefits of occasional identity without the metaphysical costs. On the proposed account, the names of ordinary material objects refer indeterminately to stages that belong to reference classes determined by the context of utterance or temporal adverbs. In addition, temporal markers indicating the perspective from which we count objects and assign (...)
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  34. The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time.E. Jonathan Lowe - 1998 - Clarendon Press.
    Jonathan Lowe argues that metaphysics should be restored to a central position in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He sets out his own original metaphysical system, within which he seeks to answer many of the deepest questions in philosophy. 'a very rich book... deserves to be read carefully by anyone (...)
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  35. Time and Identity.Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.) - 2010 - Bradford.
    The concepts of time and identity seem at once unproblematic and frustratingly difficult. Time is an intricate part of our experience -- it would seem that the passage of time is a prerequisite for having any experience at all -- and yet recalcitrant questions about time remain. Is time real? Does time flow? Do past and future moments exist? Philosophers face similarly stubborn questions about identity, particularly about the persistence of identical entities through change. Indeed, questions about the metaphysics of (...)
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  36. Identity, Inference, and Recollection in COME.Paisley Nathan Livingston - unknown
    Samuel Coleridge once noted that very short works of art ease the cognitive burden on poet and reader alike. Limiting the number of lines in a poem, he contends, allows the work 'to acquire, as it were, a Totality' which allows the reader's mind to 'rest satisfied'. Anyone who has strained to grasp the overall pattern of some massive novel, film, or musical work can readily appreciate Coleridge's point. And yet insofar as a film or poem is a temporal work (...)
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  37. Time, Change and Freedom: An Introduction to Metaphysics.L. Nathan Oaklander & Quentin Smith - 1995 - Routledge.
    First published in 1995. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  38. Persistence and Change in Minkowski Spacetime.Claudio Calosi - unknown
    There are famously two main metaphysics of persistence, namely three and four-dimensionalism. Both yield a particular solution to the so called puzzle of change. I argue that typical three-dimensionalist solutions to the puzzle face insurmountable difficulties even in the simplest relativistic setting, that of Minkowski spacetime.
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  39. The Importance of Time (Philosophical Studies Series).L. Nathan Oaklander - 2001
    The Importance of Time is a unique work that reveals the central role of the philosophy of time in major areas of philosophy. The first part of the book consists of symposia on two of the most important works in the philosophy of time over the past decade: Michael Tooley's Time, Tense, and Causation and D.H. Mellor's Real Time II. What characterizes these essays, and those that follow, are the interchanges between original papers, with original responses to them by commentators. (...)
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  40. Erratum To: Persistence of Coron’s Solution in Nearly Critical Problems.Monica Musso & Angela Pistoia - 2009 - Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa- Classe di Scienze 8 (1):207-209.
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  41. Die Idee der Verwandlung.Andreas Dorschel - 2007 - In Verwandlungsmusik. Über komponierte Transfigurationen. Universal Edition. pp. 11-51.
    Within the European history of ideas, at least three conceptions of metamorphosis can be distinguished. First, as celebrated in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, there is the vision of an open-ended flux of shapes in all directions, potentially with the ambiguous result of wavering identity. Secondly, at the centre of the synoptic gospels Jesus’s transfiguration is presented as a luminous elevation, rendering his true nature unambiguous. Thirdly, alchemy conceives of metamorphosis as contingent upon a meeting of polarities. The distinction is fit to disclose (...)
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  42. The Problem of Persistence.Kostja New - 1994
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  43. Reply to Gallois.Peter Van Inwagen - 1977 - Philosophical Studies 32 (1):107-111.
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  44. Framing The Debate Over Persistence.Ryan Wasserman - 2004 - Metaphysica 5 (1):67-80.
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  45. Endurance and Fatalism.Peter Forrest - 2006 - Metaphysica 7 (2):73-81.
    If persons persist from one time to another they do so, I claim, by perduring, that is by having temporal parts. First I argue that if persons endure, that is persist without having temporal parts, then they have time-dependent properties. Next, I argue that if enduring persons change by having time-dependent properties, then fatalism, or, more accurately, ontological determinism, holds. Hence those of us who consider that ontological determinism is incompatible with our own experience of responsibility have reason to reject (...)
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  46. Andre Gallois, The World Without. The Mind Within.A. Wikforss - 2000 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8:135-137.
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  47. Archetypes: The Persistence of Unifying Patterns. [REVIEW]Victor Jones - 1982 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 3 (2).
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  48. Passage, Persistence and Precision.Neil McKinnon - 2002 - Dissertation, Monash University
    Time passes, and the inexorability of its passing has deep emotional significance. One of the main themes of this thesis involves an investigation into the metaphysical nature of the passage of time. What sort of metaphysical account of passage should be given? And do our emotional responses to temporal passage have metaphysical implications? The other main theme of the thesis is the issue of the metaphysics of persistence. When a thing is present at more than one time, what is the (...)
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  49. 'Four-Dimensionalism' - An Analysis and Interpretation.M. Grygianiec - 2007 - Filozofia Nauki 15 (1):105-120.
    There are several faces of Four-Dimensionalism (4D). Sometimes 4D is formulated as the thesis that the material world is composed of spatial as well as temporal parts. Another version of 4D states that persisting objects are extended over time in the same way that they are extended over space. Some Four-Dimensionalists defend the thesis that all objects persist by perduring i.e. by having different temporal parts at different times. Sometimes 4D means the same as eternalism - the thesis that past (...)
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  50. Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence Time. [REVIEW]E. Paganini - 2003 - Epistemologia 26 (1):182-182.
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