Mereology and time travel

Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2245-2260 (2020)
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Core principles of mereology have been questioned by appealing to time travel scenarios. This paper questions the methodology of employing time travel scenarios to argue against mereology. We show some time travel scenarios are structurally equivalent to more standard ones not involving time travel; and that the three main theories about persistence through time can each solve both the time travel scenario as well as the structurally similar classical scenario. Time travel scenarios that are not similar to more standard arguments are instead problematic because they are open to different, incompatible interpretations. We conclude that compared to the classical arguments against mereological principles, time travel scenarios do not add anything new.



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Author Profiles

Jeroen Smid
University of Amsterdam
Carlo Proietti
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

Temporal Parts.Katherine Hawley - 2004/2010 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.
The Aleph and Other Alleged Mereological Curiosities.Jeroen Smid - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (3):564-574.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David K. Lewis - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):145-152.
Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.

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