Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

MONIST: Vol. 83, No. 3, July 2000

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

MONIST: Vol. 83, No. 3, July 2000

Article excerpt

Persistence and Space-Time: Philosophical Lessons of the Pole and Barn, YURI BALASHOV

Although considerations based on contemporary space-time theories, such as special and general relativity, seem highly relevant to the debate about persistence, their significance has not been duly appreciated. My goal in the paper is twofold: (1) to reformulate the rival positions in the debate (that is, endurantism--three-dimensionalism--and perdurantism--four-dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts) in the framework of special relativistic space-time; and (2) to argue that, when so reformulated, perdurantism exhibits explanatory advantages over endurantism. The argument builds on the fact that four-dimensional entities extended in space as well as time are relativistically invariant in a way three-dimensional entities are not.

Presentist Four-Dimensionalism, BERIT BROGAARD

Four-dimensionalism is the thesis that everyday objects are space-time worms that persist through time by having temporal parts none of which is identical to the object itself. Objects are aggregates or sums of such temporal parts. The main virtue of four-dimensionalism is that it solves--or does away with--the problem of identity through change. The main charge raised against it is that it is inconsistent with the thesis according to which there is change in the world. If this charge could be sustained, then we would need compelling arguments in support of the view that things are four-dimensional, since the view that there is no change in the world conflicts with so many of our most well-supported common-sense beliefs. In this paper the author argues that, contrary to what is usually believed, four-dimensionalism does not entail a changeless world.

A Counterexample to Locke's Thesis, KIT FINE

The paper presents a counter-example to the thesis that no two things of the same sort can occupy the same location at the same time.

Temporal Overlap is Not Coincidence, MARK HELLER

Continuants and Continuity, ROBIN LE POIDEVIN

There are two contrasting views on what it is to persist through time. According to Continuant Theory, objects are wholly present at each of the times which constitute their life-span. According to Temporal Part Theory, objects are extended through time in a way analogous to that in which they are extended in space: by having different parts at different times. In this paper it is argued that Temporal Part Theory fits much better than does Continuant Theory with two plausible assumptions concerning the continuity of existence: that the beginning and ceasing to exist of most objects depend on underlying continuous changes, and that objects do not have gaps in their existence. It is further argued that Continuant Theory is incompatible with a certain plausible approach to vagueness. …

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