Arguments Against Four‐Dimensionalism

Theodore Sider

in Four-Dimensionalism

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244430
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598425 | DOI:
 Arguments Against Four‐Dimensionalism

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If four‐dimensionalism is an ontological, rather than conceptual or ordinary‐language, thesis, some traditional objections are misguided. It then does not require any particular semantics for tensed claims, does not imply any conceptual or epistemic priority of stage‐talk, and does not preclude a distinction in ordinary thought between processes and things. A more metaphysical traditional objection is that four‐dimensionalism precludes genuine change, but there is no good reason to regard the four‐dimensionalist's conception of change as non‐genuine. A better objection: four‐dimensionalism assigns the wrong modal properties to continuants. Reply: everyone, not just a four‐dimensionalist, should accept a ‘flexible’ account of de re modal predication. Counterpart theory is one such account, but not the only one. Best objection: four‐dimensionalism precludes motion in homogeneous substances. Reply: it is only four‐dimensionalism plus Humean supervenience that has the consequence, and even then, motion in homogenous substances may be allowed in many cases, assuming a holistic account of genidentity.

Keywords: change; counterpart theory; events; genidentity; Humean supervenience; identity; motion; processes; things; velocity

Chapter.  11138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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