Thomas Sattig develops a novel philosophical picture of ordinary objects such as persons, tables, and trees. He carves a middle way between classical mereology and Aristotelian hylomorphism, and argues that objects lead double lives. They are compounds of matter and form, and each object's matter and form have different qualitative profiles.
Thomas Sattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
Slot mereology reduces parthood to slot-filling: a material object is structured by a certain arrangement of slots; and the fillers of these slots are the object's proper parts. My aim in this essay is to go further and reduce slot-filling to essence and grounding. In combination, the reduction of parthood to slot-filling and the reduction of slot-filling to essence and grounding yields the reduction of parthood to essence and grounding. If this overarching reduction succeeds, it promises new metaphysical foundations for (...) neo-Aristotelian mereology. (shrink)
We seem to experience time as flowing. Yet according to the leading metaphysical picture of time, the block-universe theory, time in fact does not flow. Block-lovers typically react to this apparent tension by unhitching the sense of flow in our temporal experience from temporal reality, holding that temporal experience is systematically illusory. I shall develop a new block-friendly account of the sense of flow, which preserves a match of temporal experience and temporal reality. According to this account, the sense of (...) flow arises from higher-order temporal experience. (shrink)
Our perceptual experiences as of change over time seem to be accompanied by the sense that time flows. The sense of flow is widely regarded as one of the most elusive aspects of temporal experience. In this paper, I develop a novel account of its nature. I give an initial characterization of the sense of flow as the sense that the present changes—in short, as the sense of replacement. Further, I specify the type of account of the sense of replacement (...) to be developed: since the sense that the present changes will be assumed to be grounded in the perceptual representation that the present changes, my focus will be to explain the perceptual representation that the present changes. I develop an account of the synchronic perceptual representation of the present. Finally, I develop an account of the diachronic perceptual representation of the present as changing. (shrink)
The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of ordinary objects as (...) material objects with multiple individual forms. (shrink)
It seems to be a platitude of common sense that distinct ordinary objects cannot coincide, that they cannot fit into the same place or be composed of the same parts at the same time. The paradoxes of coincidence are instances of a breakdown of this platitude in light of counterexamples that are licensed by innocuous assumptions about particular kinds of ordinary object. Since both the anticoincidence principle and the assumptions driving the counterexamples flow from the folk conception of ordinary objects, (...) the paradoxes threaten this conception with inconsistency. Typical approaches to the paradoxes reject the anticoincidence principle or some portion of the assumptions driving the counterexamples, thereby partially revising our common conception of the world around us. This essay offers a compatibilist solution to the paradoxes that sustains the folk conception of ordinary objects in its entirety. According to this solution, the various cases of distinct coincidents do not clash with the anticoincidence principle since the cases and the principle manifest different yet compatible perspectives on the world. (shrink)
What happens to a person in a case of ﬁssion? Does it survive? Does it go out of existence? Or is the outcome indeterminate? Since each description of ﬁssion based on the persistence conditions associated with our ordinary concept of a person seems to clash with one or more platitudes of common sense about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of macroscopic objects, ﬁssion threatens the common-sense conception of persons with inconsistency. Standard responses to this paradox agree that the common-sense conception of persons (...) is unstable, differing over which part of the conception requires revision. I will show that this entrenched view of ﬁssion is not compulsory. I will develop a solution to the paradox that maintains the consistency of the common-sense conception of persons on the basis of an ontology of persons and other ordinary objects as double-layered compounds. Each of various descriptions of the outcome of personal ﬁssion is compatible with principles about the spatiotemporal proﬁle of persons, because the descriptions and the principles manifest diﬀerent perspectives on persons and are made true or false by diﬀerent ontological components of the latter. What holds for the ﬁssion of persons, holds for the ﬁssion of other kinds of objects. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalists offer a unified picture of various puzzles about identity over time, including the puzzle of fission, the puzzle of constitution and the puzzle of undetached parts. What unifies the four-dimensionalist approaches to these puzzles is the possibility of temporal overlap—the possibility for distinct continuants to share a common temporal part, or stage. I claim that the unified picture is inconsistent, if there are informative criteria of identity over time. I will show that while temporal overlap is compatible with four-dimensionalist (...) criteria of diachronic composition, temporal overlap is incompatible with any four-dimensionalist criteria of diachronic identity. (shrink)
If ordinary objects have temporal parts, then temporal predications have the following truth conditions: necessarily, ( a is F) at t iff a has a temporal part that is located at t and that is F. If ordinary objects have temporal counterparts, then, necessarily, ( a is F) at t iff a has a temporal counterpart that is located at t and that is F. The temporal-parts account allows temporal predication to be closed under the parthood relation: since all that (...) is required to be F at t is to have a temporal part, a t , that is located at t and that is F, every object that has a t as a temporal part is F at t . Similarly for the temporal-counterparts account. Both closure under parthood and closure under counterparthood are shown to have unacceptable consequences. Then strategies for avoiding closure are considered and rejected. (shrink)
Those who believe that ordinary things have temporal as well as spatial parts must give an account of the truth conditions of temporally modiﬁed predications of the form ‘a is F at t ’ in terms of temporal parts. I will argue that the friend of temporal parts is committed to an account of temporal predication that is incompatible with the classical principle of predicate abstraction.
Perdurance is a mode of persistence. The heart of perdurance is a space-time analogy: a perduring object is extended in time in a way that is analogous to how a composite object is extended in space. This paper is a discussion of perdurance in light of the distinction between mereologically structured and unstructured objects. I show that while the standard formulation of perdurance captures the space-time analogy for unstructured objects, it fails to capture the space-time analogy for temporally and spatially (...) structured objects. I conclude that there are substantially different ways for an object to be space-like temporally extended. (shrink)
Can our ordinary conception of macroscopic objects be transposed to the framework of relativity theory? According to common sense, ordinary objects cannot undergo radical variation in shape, whereas according to a compelling and widely accepted metaphysical picture of ordinary objects’ shapes in Minkowski spacetime, they do undergo such radical variation. This problem raises doubts about the compatibility of the ordinary conception and the relativistic conception of the world. I shall propose to reconcile common sense with relativistic metaphysics by viewing ordinary (...) objects as doublelayered compounds of matter and form. The diﬀerent layers permit diﬀerent perspectives on the objects, the one perspective focusing on form and the other focusing on matter. This ontology allows the conception of common sense and the conception of relativistic metaphysics to manifest diﬀerent and compatible perspectives on the same objects. (shrink)
The vast majority of philosophers of personal identity since John Locke have been convinced that the persistence of persons is not grounded in bodily continuity. Why? As numerous ‘textbooks’ on personal identity attest, their conviction rests, to a large extent, on an objection to the bodily approach, which concerns episodic memory. The objection invites us to a thought experiment in which we meet a person who experientially remembers events from the past of a person with a different body. The nature (...) of such first-personal memory-links is viewed as strongly suggesting that the rememberer is identical with the remembered, and hence, given the possibility of such a case, as suggesting that a person can transgress its bodily limits. The memory objection is as influential as it gets in the metaphysics of personal identity. Textbooks often portray it as the starting point of the contemporary debate about personal identity. And it has been widely perceived as a success. As everyone who has taught an introductory course on personal identity knows, the recognition of episodic-memory links in body-switching cases has the power to turn any group of novice students against bodily criteria of personal identity. In this essay, I shall specify and undermine the memory objection. I shall attempt to establish two theses. The first thesis is that the memory objection is only viable if construed as resting on the view that episodic memory contains a sense of personal identity, which teaches us about the reality of personal identity. The second thesis is that there is no such sense of personal identity, that episodic memory teaches us nothing at all about personal identity. (shrink)
Gareth Evans adduces a case in which a proper name apparently undergoes a change in referent. ‘Madagascar’ was originally the name of a part of Africa. Marco Polo, erroneously thinking he was following native usage, applied the name to an island off the African coast. Today ‘Madagascar’ is the name of that island. Evans argues that this kind of case threatens Kripke ’s picture of naming as developed in Naming and Necessity. According to this picture, the name, as used by (...) Marco Polo, referred to a part of the African mainland, since he was connected to the latter by a historical chain of communication. Since we are historically connected to Marco Polo, the name, as it is used today, still refers to the African mainland. But it doesn’t. The aim of the present paper is to give a conclusive account of the phenomenon adduced by Evans, which is compatible with Kripke ’s picture. (shrink)
Coincidentalism is the view that distinct material things can be composed of the same microphysical simples at the same time. The existence of distinct coincidents is incompatible with any microphysical criterion of identity over time of material composites. This incompatibility constitutes a problem for the coincidentalist only if the coincidentalist needs a microphysical criterion of identity over time. What does the coincidentalist need such a criterion for? I will show that the coincidentalist needs such a criterion for an explanation of (...) cardinal supervenience, of the thesis that facts concerning how many composite material things exist supervene on facts about microphysical simples. (shrink)
This Element is a survey of central topics in the metaphysics of material objects. The topics are grouped into four problem spaces. The first concerns how an object's parts are related to the object's existence and to the object's nature, or essence. The second concerns how an object persists through time, how an object is located in spacetime, and how an object changes. The third concerns paradoxes about objects, including paradoxes of coincidence, paradoxes of fission, and the problem of the (...) many. The fourth concerns views with radical consequences regarding the existence of composite material objects, including mereological nihilism, ontological anti-realism, and deflationism. (shrink)
As a preliminary, I shall follow MartyMarty, Anton and many others by adopting the common view that short episodes of change through time, such as the movement of a falling leaf or the frequency shift of a tone over the period of a second or less, can be experienced ‘immediately’. In order to motivate this view, compare looking at a falling leaf and looking at a wilting leaf. It seems that in the case of the falling leaf we can see (...) the leaf’s movement just by looking at it, whereas we cannot just see the wilting leaf’s change in shape and colour. (shrink)
Gareth Evans adduces a case in which a proper name apparently undergoes a change in referent. ‘Madagascar’ was originally the name of a part of Africa. Marco Polo, erroneously thinking he was following native usage, applied the name to an island off the African coast. Today ‘Madagascar’ is the name of that island. Evans argues that this kind of case threatens Kripke’s picture of naming as developed in Naming and Necessity. According to this picture, the name, as used by Marco (...) Polo, referred to a part of the African mainland, since he was connected to the latter by a historical chain of communication. Since we are historically connected to Marco Polo, the name, as it is used today, still refers to the African mainland. But it doesn’t. The aim of the present paper is to give a conclusive account of the phenomenon adduced by Evans, which is compatible with Kripke’s picture. (shrink)