Ignoring the temporal dimension, an object such as a railway tunnel or a human body is a three-dimensional whole composed of three-dimensional parts. The four-dimensionalist holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time—Descartes, for example—is a four-dimensional whole composed of 'briefer' four-dimensional objects, its temporalparts. Peter van Inwagen (1990) has argued that four-dimensionalism cannot be sustained, or at best can be sustained only by a counterpart theorist. We argue that different schemes of individuation of (...)temporalparts are available, which undermines van Inwagen's argument. (shrink)
Material objects extend through space by having different spatial parts in different places. But how do they persist through time? According to some philosophers, things have temporalparts as well as spatial parts: accepting this is supposed to help us solve a whole bunch of metaphysical problems, and keep our philosophy in line with modern physics. Other philosophers disagree, arguing that neither metaphysics nor physics give us good reason to believe in temporalparts.
This paper presents the strongest version of a non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism: a theory according to which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in space-time, but not in virtue of having maximal temporalparts. The aims of considering such a view are twofold. First, to evaluate whether such an account could provide a plausible middle ground between the two main competitor accounts of persistence: three-dimensionalism and perdurantist four-dimensionalism. Second, to see what light such a theory sheds on the debate between these (...) two competitor theories. I conclude that despite prima facie reasons to suppose that non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism might be a credible alternative to either other account of persistence, ultimately the view is unsuccessful. The reasons for its failure illuminate the sometimes stagnant debate between three-dimensionalists and perdurantists, providing new reasons to prefer a perdurantist metaphysics. (shrink)
In this paper I consider an objection that friends of the Metaphysic of TemporalParts (MTP) press against other solutions to the problem of temporary intrinsics and turn it against the MTP itself. I do not argue that the MTP must be false, nor do I argue that there are no arguments in favor of the MTP. Rather, the conclusion I draw is conditional: if the MTP provides an adequate response to the problem of temporary intrinsics, then the (...) MTP provides no reason to reject our commonsense view of the nature of material objects. (shrink)
A brief introductory note to the Monist issue on "TemporalParts", setting the background for the eight papers included in the rest of the issue (by Y. Balashov, B. Brogaard, K. Fine, M. Heller, R. LePoidevin, J. Parsons, P. M. Simons, and P. van Inwagen).
Sider (2001) and Hawley (2001) argue that, in order to account for the mere possibility of change, temporalparts must be as fine-grained as possible change, and hence as fine-grained as time. However, when dealing with metaphysical possibility, the fine-grainedness of actual time and the fine-grainedness of possible change can come apart. Once this is taken into account, we see that, on certain assumptions about the actual microstructure of time, the modal arguments of Sider and Hawley lead to (...) the problematic claim that temporalparts are more fine-grained than time. The utility of a temporalparts theory thus seems to be sensitive to metaphysically contingent facts concerning the microstructure of time. (shrink)
Adopting temporalparts 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, temporalparts 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 temporalparts theory, and that on these grounds we must look elsewhere for solutions to our questions about identity across time. (shrink)
The following quotation, from Frank Jackson, is the beginning of a typical exposition of the debate between those metaphysicians who believe in temporalparts, and those who do not: The dispute between three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism, or more precisely, that part of the dispute we will be concerned with, concerns what persistence, and correllatively, what change, comes to. Three-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by being wholly present at that time, and, accordingly, that it persists if (...) it is wholly present at more than one time. For short, it persists by enduring. Four-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by having a temporal part at that time, and it persists if it has distinct temporalparts at more than one time. For short, it persists by perduring. In the light of these comments, some readers will perhaps ﬁnd the question that forms the title of this paper a little puzzling. They may have learned to use the terms ‘fourdimensionalism’ ‘perdurantism’ and ‘belief in temporalparts’ interchangeably; or perhaps even to deﬁne one in terms of the other. Such a usage, however, is inapposite. We might imagine a Flatland-like world of two spatial dimensions and one temporal, whose philosophers are divided between a theory of persistence on which they persist by having temporalparts, and a theory on which they persist by being wholly located in each of several times. This is just the same issue we face, but at least the label ‘four-dimensionalism’ seems inapposite: the four-dimensionalist Flatlanders believe in only three dimensions! (shrink)
Hud Hudson has recently suggested a scenario intended to show that, assuming the doctrine of temporalparts and a sufficiently liberal view of composition, there are material objects that move faster than light. I accept Hudson's conditional but contend that his modus ponens is less plausible that the corresponding modus tollens. Reversed in this way, the argument stemming from the scenario raises the cost of mereological liberalism and advances the case for a principled restriction on diachronic composition.
I offer a clear conception of a temporal part that does not make the existence of temporalparts implausible. This can be done if (and only if) we think of physical objects as four dimensional, The fourth dimension being time. Unless we are willing to deny the existence of most spatial parts, Or willing to accept the possibility of coincident entities, Or accept something even more implausible, We should accept the existence of temporalparts.
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 temporalparts stands unmotivated. (shrink)
What is a temporal part? Most accounts explain it in terms of timeless parthood: a thing's having a part without temporal qualification. Some find this hard to understand, and thus find the view that persisting things have temporalparts--fourdimensionalism--unintelligible. T. Sider offers to help by defining temporal parthood in terms of a thing's having a part at a time. I argue that no such account can capture the notion of a temporal part that figures (...) in orthodox four-dimensionalism: temporalparts must be timeless parts. This enables us to state four-dimensionalism more clearly. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to make a bundle theory of objects consistentwith a temporalparts theory of object persistence. To that end,I propose that such bundles are made up of tropes includingthe co-instantiation relation.
Temporalparts are analogous to spatial parts: just as the conference has one spatial part which occupies the seminar room, and another which occupies the lecture hall, it has one temporal part which ‘occupies’ Friday and another which ‘occupies’ Saturday. These temporalparts of the conference have half-hour coffee-breaks as temporalparts of their own; these coffee-breaks are also temporalparts of the whole conference.
An introduction to temporalparts theory. Most of us believe in spatial parts: hands are spatial parts of people, an electron is a spatial part of a hydrogen atom, the earth is a spatial part of the solar system. Why are these parts "spatial" parts? Because they are spatially smaller: the hand is spatially smaller than the person, the electron is spatially smaller than the atom, the earth is spatially smaller than the solar system. (...)Temporalparts, then, are parts that are temporally smaller. My current temporal part, "me-today", we might call it, is temporally smaller than me, since it exists today and only today. Temporalparts theory says that objects are made up of temporal as well as spatial parts. (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 temporalparts. I will argue that the friend of temporalparts is committed to an account of temporal predication that is incompatible with the classical principle of predicate abstraction.
The Doctrine of TemporalParts (sometimes abbreviated herein as 'DTP') asserts that, for each portion (including infinitely small portions) of the smallest period of time during which a material object exists, there is an object-a temporal part of the material object in question-which exists at that and at no other time. In "Things Change," Mark Heller offers an argument for DTP, and responds to a objection, the "No-Change" objection, to that doctrine.2 My goal in this paper is (...) to undermine both Heller's argument in favor of DTP and his response to that criticism. (shrink)
If ordinary objects have temporalparts, 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)
To what extent is time similar to space? in this paper it is shown that the claim, Made by richard taylor among others, That time and space are "radically alike" is unfounded. This claim can be supported only by employing the notion of temporalparts. It is shown that if objects are regarded as having temporalparts as well as spatial parts, Then serious disanalogies exist between time and space. Furthermore, If objects are said to (...) have temporalparts, Then it must also be held that time is in a very important sense "prior" to space and this that time and space are not only unlike in certain respects but indeed are radically dissimilar. Moreover, The so-Called "manifold theory of time" necessarily makes use of the notion of temporalparts and therefore should hold that time and space are quite unlike. But since an important part of the manifold theory of time is the claim that time and space are very much alike, This theory is to that extent not satisfactory. (shrink)
The Doctrine of TemporalParts asserts that, for each portion of the smallest period of time during which a material object exists, there is an object-a temporal part of the material object in question-which exists at that and at no other time. In "Things Change," Mark Heller offers an argument for DTP, and responds to a objection, the "No-Change" objection, to that doctrine.2 My goal in this paper is to undermine both Heller's argument in favor of DTP (...) and his response to that criticism. (shrink)
Naive mereology studies ordinary conceptions of part and whole. Parts, unlike portions, have objective boundaries and many things, such as dances and sermons have temporalparts. In order to deal with Mark Heller's claim that temporalparts "are ontologically no more or less basic than the wholes that they compose," we retell the story of Laplace's Genius, here named "Swifty." Although Swifty processes lots of information very quickly, his conceptual repertoire need not extend beyond fundamental (...) physics. So we attempt to follow Swifty's progress in the acquisition of ordinary concepts such as 'table'. (Puzzles of precision and intrusion appear along the way.) Swifty has to understand what tables are before understanding what temporal portions of tables are. This is one reason for regarding tables as ontologically prior to table portions. intrusion appear along the way.). (shrink)
This paper provides a new context for an established metaphysical debate regarding the problem of persistence. I contend that perdurance can be precisely formulated in quantum mechanics due to an analogy with spatial parts, which I claim correspond to the decomposition of the quantum state provided by a localization scheme. However, I present a `no-go' result that rules out the existence of an analogous temporal localization scheme, and so argue that quantum objects cannot be said to perdure. I (...) conclude by surveying the remaining metaphysical options. (shrink)
Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism is untenable in the context of Minkowski spacetime. Balashov's argument runs through two main theses concerning the relation of coexistence, or temporal co-location. Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and in Minkowski spacetime coexistence must be grounded in the relation of spacelike separation. If endurantism is true, then leads to absurd conclusions; but if perdurantism is true, then is harmless. I object to both theses. Against , I argue (...) that coexistence is better construed as being relative to a hyperplane of simultaneity. Against , I argue that the consequences of given endurantism are no worse than the consequences of given perdurantism. (shrink)
This paper argues that, in light of certain scenarios involving time travel, Sider’s definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’ cannot be accepted in conjunction with a semantic thesis that perdurantists often assume. I examine a rejoinder from Sider, as well as Thomson’s alternative definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’, and show how neither helps. Given this, we should give up on the perdurantist semantic thesis. I end by recommending that, once we no longer accept such semantics, we should accept a (...) new set of definitions, which are superior in certain respects to Sider’s original set. (shrink)
Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism is untenable in the context of Minkowski spacetime. Balashov's argument runs through two main theses concerning the relation of coexistence, or temporal co-location. Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and in Minkowski spacetime coexistence must be grounded in the relation of spacelike separation. If endurantism is true, then leads to absurd conclusions; but if perdurantism is true, then is harmless. I object to both theses. Against, I argue that (...) coexistence is better construed as being relative to a hyperplane of simultaneity. Against, I argue that the consequences of given endurantism are no worse than the consequences of given perdurantism. (shrink)
The so-called "argument from vagueness", the clearest formulation of which is to be found in Ted Sider’s book Four-dimensionalism, is arguably the most powerful and innovative argument recently offered in support of the view that objects are four-dimensional perdurants. The argument is defective--I submit--and in a number of ways that is worth looking into. But each "defect" corresponds to a model of change that is independently problematic and that can hardly be built into the common-sense picture of the world. So (...) once all the gaps of the argument are filled in, the three-dimensionalist is left with the burden of a response that cannot rely on a passive plea for common sense. The argument is not a threat to common sense as such; it is a threat to the three-dimensionalist faithfulness to common sense. (shrink)
In two earlier works (Balashov, 2000a: Philosophical Studies 99, 129–166; 2000b: Philosophy of Science 67 (Suppl), S549–S562), I have argued that considerations based on special relativity and the notion of coexistence favor the perdurance view of persistence over its endurance rival. Cody Gilmore (2002: Philosophical Studies 109, 241–263) has subjected my argument to an insightful three fold critique. In the first part of this paper I respond briefly to Gilmore’s first two objections. I then grant his observation that anyone who (...) can resist the first objection is liable to succumb to the third one. This, however, opens a way to other closely related relativistic arguments against endurantism that are immune to all three objections and, in addition, throw new light on a number of important issues in the ontology of persistence. I develop two such novel arguments in the second half of the paper. (shrink)
The paper develops an objection to the extensional model of time consciousness—the view that temporally extended events or processes, and their temporal properties, can be directly perceived as such. Importantly, following James, advocates of the extensional model typically insist that whole experiences of temporal relations between non-simultaneous events are distinct from mere successions of their temporalparts. This means, presumably, that there ought to be some feature(s) differentiating the former from the latter. I try to show (...) why the extensional models offers no credible ground for positing such a difference. (shrink)
Things change. If anything counts as a datum of metaphysics, that does. Change occurs in many ways: it can be accidental or substantial; essential or non-essential; intrinsic or extrinsic; subjective (a change in the knower) or objective (a change in the known). Changes can be physical, spatial, quantitative, qualitative, natural, artefactual, conceptual, linguistic. Events are arguably best defined as changes in an object or objects. All change is from something and into something, and hence is at least a two-term relation, (...) involving a term from which and a term to which. (shrink)
This chapter discusses the “real distinction” between the mind and the body and a demonstration of the immortality of the soul as demonstrated in Descartes’s Meditations. Early readers of Descartes’s work like Arnauld and Mersenne rejected the idea on the grounds that “it does not seem to follow from the fact that the mind is distinct from the body that it is incorruptible or immortal.” In light of this, Descartes devised a more detailed proof of immortality based on two assumptions (...) not made explicit in the six meditations. These two assumptions are discussed in this chapter, together with the difficulties that arise by making them. Descartes’s arguments are also examined vis-à-vis the metaphysical distinction between endurance and perdurance. (shrink)
Three Dimensionalists and Four Dimensionalists are engaged in a debate on the topics of persistence and mereology. In this paper, I explore implications of Four Dimensionalism for the formulation of the criterion of personhood and on the question of which individuals satisfy that criterion. In my discussion I argue that the Four Dimensionalist has reason to identify a human person with a proper part of a human organism, and that the Four Dimensionalist has reason to believe that if there is (...) something morally wrong with human abortion or infanticide, it cannot be grounded in claims about the moral status of persons. (shrink)