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Persistence and Properties



If for every portion of space-time there is an object composed of its contents, four-dimensionalism will be true of these objects. But ordinary objects—trees, stones, persons, etc.—are not among these objects (although the series of events that make up their careers will be). The properties of ordinary objects, including sortal properties, are temporally local and have causal profiles that incorporate transtemporal persistence conditions of the things that have them, and this supports a rejection of four-dimensionalism in favor of three-dimensionalism as an account of the nature of these ordinary objects. Also rejected is the stage theory that takes ordinary objects to be momentary stages (whose transtemporal sameness is not identity), and the argument (of Katherine Hawley) that holds that stage theory is supported by the fact that there can be cases in which it is indeterminate whether the same thing exists at different times.



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Della Rocca, Michael. (2011) ‘Primitive Persistence and the Impasse between Three-Dimensionalism and Four-Dimensionalism’. Journal of Philosophy, 108, 591616.
Hawley, Katherine. (2001) How Things Persist. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hawthorne, John. (2006) ‘Three-Dimensionalism’. In Hawthorne, Metaphysical Essays. (New York: Oxford University Press), 85109.
Lewis, David. (1986) On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Shoemaker, Sydney. (2007) Physical Realization. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shoemaker, Sydney. (2013) ‘Realization without Preemption’. In Gibb, S. C., Lowe, E. J., and Ingthorsson, R. D. (eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology. New York: Oxford University Press), 3557.
Sider, Theodore. (2001) Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. New York: Oxford University Press.
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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-american-philosophical-association
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