Temporal parts unmotivated

Philosophical Review 107 (2):225-260 (1998)
In debate about the nature of persistence over time, the view that material objects endure has played the role of "champion" and the view that they perdure has played the role of the "challenger." It has fallen to the perdurantists rather than the endurantists to motivate their view, to provide reasons for accepting it that override whatever initial presumption there is against it. Perdurantists have sought to discharge their burden in several ways. For example, perdurantism has been recommend on the grounds that: (i) it solves several of the puzzles that raise the problem of material constitution; (ii) it is (at least) suggested by the special theory of relativity (hereafter "SR"); (iii) it is the only view that makes sense out of the possibility of intrinsic change; (iv) it is the only view consistent with the doctrine of Humean supervenience; and (v) it makes better sense than its competitor out of the possibility of fission. There are primary and most powerful claims that have been made on behalf of perdurantism. They are individually persuasive and together they constitute a formidable assault upon the hegemony of endurantism. Endurantists of course, have not been without reply. However, since endurantists typically respond to these claims one at a time and in different ways, it is easy to get the impression that perdurantism offers a single, neat solution to a host of problems whereas endurantism requires a patchwork of different strategies. But this impression is an illusion. In Rea 1995, I argued that though perdurantism does solve some of the puzzles that raise the problem of material constitution, it does not solve the problem of material constitution itself. Thus, the problem of material constitution really has no bearing on the debate between endurantists and perdurantists. In his paper, I will show that the same is true with respect to SR, the problem of intrinsic change, the doctrine of Humean supervenience, and the possibility of fission. In short, I will argue that none of (ii-v) is true and that therefore the doctrine of temporal parts stands unmotivated.
Keywords Perdurance  Three Dimensionalism  Four Dimensionalism
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DOI 10.2307/2998484
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