Chapter

In Favor of Four‐Dimensionalism, Part 2: The Best Unified Theory of the Paradoxes of Coincidence

Theodore Sider

in Four-Dimensionalism

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244430
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598425 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019924443X.003.0005
 In Favor of Four‐Dimensionalism, Part 2: The Best Unified Theory of the Paradoxes of Coincidence

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We need a general solution to a cluster of related paradoxes in which numerically distinct material objects appear to share exactly the same parts. Those paradoxes include the statue and the lump of clay, undetached parts, fission, fusion and longevity, vague identity, and conventional identity. A good solution is given by the ‘worm theory’, according to which continuants are aggregates of temporal parts; a better solution is given by the ‘stage theory’, according to which continuants are instantaneous temporal parts, whose temporal properties are understood via temporal counterpart theory. There are other solutions that do not appeal to temporal parts: Wiggins's constitution theory, Burke's dominance view, Gallois's temporary identity theory, eliminativism, and mereological essentialism. But these are arguably inferior: some are insufficiently general, others are subject to powerful criticisms.

Keywords: Burke; coincidence; constitution; counterpart theory; eliminativism; endurance; essentialism; four‐dimensionalism; Gallois; identity; lumps; perdurance; relativity; sortal; statues; Wiggins; worm theory

Chapter.  28395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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