Processes, Continuants, and Individuals

Mind 122 (487):fzt080 (2013)
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The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and the grounding of those ideas and intuitions in a more plausible metaphysics than is provided by the continuant view. It is argued that in addition to a distinction between events and processes there is room and need for a third category, that of the individual process, which can be illuminatingly compared with the idea of a substance. Individual processes indeed share important metaphysical features with substantial continuants, but they do not lack temporal parts. Instead, it is argued that individual processes share with substantial continuants an important property I call ‘modal robustness in virtue of form’. The paper explains what this property is, and further suggests that the category of individual process, thus understood, might be of considerable value to the philosophy of action



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Helen Steward
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Agency.Markus Schlosser - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Process Philosophy.Johanna Seibt - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Are Organisms Substances or Processes?William Morgan - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):605-619.

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References found in this work

Parts: a study in ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Action, Emotion And Will.Anthony Kenny - 1963 - Ny: Humanities Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.

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