Can I be an Instantaneous Stage and yet Persist Through Time?
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An alternative to the standard endurance/perdurance accounts of persistence has recently been developed: the stage theory (Sider, T. Four-Dimensionalism: an Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001; Hawley, K. How Things Persist. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). According to this theory, a persisting object is identical with an instantaneous stage (temporal part). On the basis of Leibniz’s Law, I argue that stage theorists either have to deny the alleged identity (i.e., give up their central thesis) or hold that stages are both instantaneous and continuants. I subsequently show that, although stage theory is flexible enough to accommodate the latter claim, the cost for accommodating it is an excessive proliferation of persistence concepts.
KeywordsPersistence Stage theory Temporal counterparts Predication Leibniz’s Law
I thank Heather Dyke, Anna-Sofia Maurin, Nils-Eric Sahlin, Nicholas J.J. Smith, Lena Wahlberg, and the participants of the Lund-Rutgers Conference (Lund, January 2008) for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
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