Probabilities and temporal parts

Acta Analytica 17 (1):39-52 (2002)
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Adopting temporal parts 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, temporal parts 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 temporal parts theory, and that on these grounds we must look elsewhere for solutions to our questions about identity across time.



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Michael F. Patton
Syracuse University (PhD)

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References found in this work

Methods of logic.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1950 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Parthood and identity across time.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):201-220.
Four-Dimensional Objects.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Noûs 24 (2):245--255.
Methods of Logic.W. Quine - 1983 - Critica 15 (45):119-123.

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