Dialectica 70 (3):269-309 (2016)

Thomas Pashby
University of Chicago
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: it demonstrates that the spatiotemporal path of a persisting thing is discrete in time. This leads to unpalatable consequences for both perdurantists and endurantists. In particular, I argue that Butterfield's ‘anti-pointilliste’ perdurantism is ruled out, and show that endurantists relying on immanent causation run into trouble. I conclude by suggesting the revival of Whitehead's alternative mode of persistence called ‘reiteration.’
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DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12150
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References found in this work BETA

Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
On the Plurality of Worlds.Allen Stairs - 1988 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.

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