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Parts: A Study in Ontology

Oxford University Press (1987)

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  1. Mereological Nihilism: Quantum Atomism and the Impossibility of Material Constitution.Jeffrey Grupp - 2006 - Axiomathes 16 (3):245-386.
    Mereological nihilism is the philosophical position that there are no items that have parts. If there are no items with parts then the only items that exist are partless fundamental particles, such as the true atoms (also called philosophical atoms) theorized to exist by some ancient philosophers, some contemporary physicists, and some contemporary philosophers. With several novel arguments I show that mereological nihilism is the correct theory of reality. I will also discuss strong similarities that mereological nihilism has with empirical (...)
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  • The Disappearance of Change: Towards a Process Account of Persistence.Anne Sophie Meincke - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):12-30.
    This paper aims to motivate a new beginning in metaphysical thinking about persistence by drawing attention to the disappearance of change in current accounts of persistence. I defend the claim that the debate is stuck in a dilemma which results from neglecting the constructive role of change for persistence. Neither of the two main competing views, perdurantism and endurantism, captures the idea of persistence as an identity through time. I identify the fundamental ontological reasons for this, namely the shared commitment (...)
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  • Some Stuffs Are Not Sums of Stuff.David Barnett - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (1):89-100.
    Milk, sand, plastic, uranium, wood, carbon, and oil are kinds of stuff. The sand in Hawaii, the uranium in North Korea, and the oil in Iraq are portions of stuff. Not everyone believes in portions of stuff.1 Those who do are likely to agree that, whatever their more specific natures, portions of stuff can at least be identified with mereological sums of their subportions.2 It seems after all trivial that a given portion of stuff just is all of its subportions (...)
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  • Kant’s Philosophy of Mathematics and the Greek Mathematical Tradition.Daniel Sutherland - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (2):157-201.
    The aggregate EIRP of an N-element antenna array is proportional to N 2. This observation illustrates an effective approach for providing deep space networks with very powerful uplinks. The increased aggregate EIRP can be employed in a number of ways, including improved emergency communications, reaching farther into deep space, increased uplink data rates, and the flexibility of simultaneously providing more than one uplink beam with the array. Furthermore, potential for cost savings also exists since the array can be formed using (...)
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  • The (Multiple) Realization of Psychological and Other Properties in the Sciences.Kenneth Aizawa & Carl Gillett - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (2):181-208.
    Abstract: There has recently been controversy over the existence of 'multiple realization' in addition to some confusion between different conceptions of its nature. To resolve these problems, we focus on concrete examples from the sciences to provide precise accounts of the scientific concepts of 'realization' and 'multiple realization' that have played key roles in recent debates in the philosophy of science and philosophy of psychology. We illustrate the advantages of our view over a prominent rival account ( Shapiro, 2000 and (...)
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  • Collections in Early Bolzano.Stefania Centrone & Mark Siebel - 2018 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 6 (7).
    There are quite a few studies on late Bolzano’s notion of a collection. We try to broaden the perspective by introducing the forerunner of collections in Bolzano’s early writings, namely the entities referred to by expressions with the technical term ‘et’. Special emphasis is laid on the question whether these entities are set-theoretical or mereological plenties. Moreover, similarities and differences to Bolzano’s mature conception are pointed out.
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  • Essence, Modality, and Intrinsicality.Gaétan Bovey - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Kit Fine famously objected against the idea that essence can be successfully analyzed in terms of de re necessity. In response, I want to explore a novel, interesting, but controversial modal account of essence in terms of intrinsicality and grounding. In the first section, I will single out two theoretical requirements that any essentialist theory should meet—the essentialist desideratum and the essentialist challenge—in order to clarify Fine’s objections. In the second section, I will assess Denby’s improved modal account, which appeals (...)
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  • Objects and Events: an Investigation into their Identification.Riccardo Baratella - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1363-1380.
    John goes out for a walk. If John endures and his walk perdures, they are different entities. However, what if both John and his walk perdure? Is John’s walk identical to his relevant temporal part? Some philosophers answer in the affirmative. Their motivations rest on ontological parsimony and the quest for clear-cut identity criteria for existing things. By contrast, one of the most widely accepted theories of events – the theory of events as property-exemplifications – allows us to formulate an (...)
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  • Count Nouns, Mass Nouns and Their Acquisition (1997).David Nicolas - manuscript
    In English, some common nouns, like 'dog', can combine with determiners like 'a' and 'many', but not with 'much', while other nouns, like 'water', can be used together with 'much', but not with 'a' and 'many'. These common nouns have been respectively called count nouns (CNs) and mass nouns (MNs). How do children learn to use CNs and MNs in the appropriate contexts? Gaining a better understanding of this is the goal of this paper. To do so, it is important (...)
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  • Aristotle on Ontological Dependence.Phil Corkum - 2008 - Phronesis 53 (1):65 - 92.
    Aristotle holds that individual substances are ontologically independent from nonsubstances and universal substances but that non-substances and universal substances are ontologically dependent on substances. There is then an asymmetry between individual substances and other kinds of beings with respect to ontological dependence. Under what could plausibly be called the standard interpretation, the ontological independence ascribed to individual substances and denied of non-substances and universal substances is a capacity for independent existence. There is, however, a tension between this interpretation and the (...)
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  • Towards a Semantics for Mass Expressions Derived From Gradable Expressions.David Nicolas - 2010 - Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes 39:163-198.
    What semantics should we attribute to mass expressions like "wisdom" and "love", which are derived from gradable expressions? We first examine how these expressions are used, then how they are interpreted in their various uses. We then propose a model to account for these data, in which derived mass nouns denote instances of properties.
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  • Arguing About the World’s Cardinality: Priority, Existence, and Metaphysical Necessity.Sebastián Briceño - 2018 - Filosofia Unisinos 19 (1).
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  • I—What is a Continuant?Helen Steward - 2015 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):109-123.
    In this paper, I explore the question what a continuant is, in the context of a very interesting suggestion recently made by Rowland Stout, as part of his attempt to develop a coherent ontology of processes. Stout claims that a continuant is best thought of as something that primarily has its properties at times, rather than atemporally—and that on this construal, processes should count as continuants. While accepting that Stout is onto something here, I reject his suggestion that we should (...)
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  • Naive Fizyka: Esej w ontologii.Roberto Casati & Barry Smith - 2012 - Science Blog.
    W dziełach Arystotelesa, lub z medievals, jak również w pismach późniejszych zdroworozsądkowe filozofów, takich jak Thomas Reid czy GE Moore’a, możemy znaleźć rodzinę różnych prób uporania się ze strukturami rozsądku i wspólnego -sense świat, który jest nam dany w normalnym, doświadczenie pre-teoretycznym. Będziemy argumentować, co wynika, że ​​teoria takich struktur stanowi ważny i dotychczas niedoceniany związek między wczesnym psychologii Gestalt z jednej strony, oraz współczesnych osiągnięć w filozofii i sztucznej inteligencji badań na innych.
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  • Crimes and Punishments.Giuliano Torrengo & Achille C. Varzi - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (4):395-404.
    Every criminal act ought to be matched by a corresponding punishment, or so we may suppose, and every punishment ought to reflect a criminal act. We know how to count punishments. But how do we count crimes? In particular, how does our notion of a criminal action depend on whether the prohibited action is an activity, an accomplishment, an achievement, or a state?
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  • From Nihilism to Monism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):175 – 191.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that all concrete objects are simple. Existence monism is the view that the only concrete object is one big simple: the world. I will argue that nihilism culminates in monism. The nihilist demands the simplest sufficient ontology, and the monist delivers it.
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  • The Metaphysical Equivalence Of Three And Four Dimensionalism.Kristie Miller - 2005 - Erkenntnis 62 (1):91-117.
    I argue that two competing accounts of persistence, three and four dimensionalism, are in fact metaphysically equivalent. I begin by clearly defining three and four dimensionalism, and then I show that the two theories are intertranslatable and equally simple. Through consideration of a number of different cases where intuitions about persistence are contradictory, I then go on to show that both theories describe these cases in the same manner. Further consideration of some empirical issues arising from the theory of special (...)
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  • The Contingency of Composition.Ross P. Cameron - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):99-121.
    There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as (...)
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  • Composition as Identity: A Study in Ontology and Philosophical Logic.Einar Bohn - unknown
    In this work I first develop, motivate, and defend the view that mereological composition, the relation between an object and all its parts collectively, is a relation of identity. I argue that this view implies and hence can explain the logical necessity of classical mereology, the formal study of the part-whole relation. I then critically discuss four contemporary views of the same kind. Finally, I employ my thesis in a recent discussion of whether the world is fundamentally one in number.
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  • The Constitution Question.Ryan Wasserman - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):693 - 710.
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  • Perdurantism, Universalism and Quantifiers.Achille Varzi - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):208-215.
    I argue that the conjunction of perdurantism (the view that objects are temporally extended) and universalism (the thesis that any old class of things has a mereological fusion) gives rise to undesired complications when combined with certain plausible assumptions concerning the semantics of tensed statements.
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  • Coincidence as Overlap.L. A. Paul - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):623–659.
    I discuss puzzles involving coinciding material objects (such as statues and their constitutive lumps of clay) and propose solutions.
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  • Temporal Parts and Timeless Parthood.Eric Olson - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):738–752.
    What is a temporal part? Most accounts explain it in terms of timeless parthood: a thing's having a part without temporal qualification. Some find this hard to understand, and thus find the view that persisting things have temporal parts--fourdimensionalism--unintelligible. T. Sider offers to help by defining temporal parthood in terms of a thing's having a part at a time. I argue that no such account can capture the notion of a temporal part that figures in orthodox four-dimensionalism: temporal parts must (...)
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  • Statues and Lumps: A Strange Coincidence?Mark Moyer - 2006 - Synthese 148 (2):401-423.
    Puzzles about persistence and change through time, i.e., about identity across time, have foundered on confusion about what it is for ‘two things’ to be have ‘the same thing’ at a time. This is most directly seen in the dispute over whether material objects can occupy exactly the same place at the same time. This paper defends the possibility of such coincidence against several arguments to the contrary. Distinguishing a temporally relative from an absolute sense of ‘the same’, we see (...)
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  • Transient Things and Permanent Stuff.Paul Needham - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):147 – 166.
    A view of individuals as constituted of quantities of matter, both understood as continuants enduring over time, is elaborated in some detail. Constitution is a three-place relation which can't be collapsed to identity because of the place-holder for a time and because individuals and quantities of matter have such a radically different character. Individuals are transient entities with limited lifetimes, whereas quantities are permanent existents undergoing change in physical and chemical properties from time to time. Coincidence, considered as a matter (...)
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  • Non-Mereological Universalism.Kristie Miller - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):404–422.
    In this paper I develop a version of universalism that is non-mereological. Broadly speaking, non-mereological universalism is the thesis that for any arbitrary set of objects and times, there is a persisting object which, at each of those times, will be constituted by those of the objects that exist at that time. I consider two general versions of non-mereological universalism, one which takes basic simples to be enduring objects, and the other which takes simples to be instantaneous objects. This yields (...)
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  • Endurantism Vs Perdurantism? A Debate Reconsidered.Ofra Magidor - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):509-532.
    One of the central debates in contemporary metaphysics has been the debate between endurantism and perdurantism about persistence. In this paper I argue that much of this debate has been misconstrued: most of the arguments in the debate crucially rely on theses which are strictly orthogonal to the endurantism/perdurantism debate. To show this, I note that the arguments in the endurantism/perdurantism debate typically take the following form: one presents a challenge that endurantists allegedly have some trouble addressing, and to which (...)
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  • The 3d/4d Controversy: A Storm in a Teacup.Storrs McCall & E. J. Lowe - 2006 - Noûs 40 (3):570–578.
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  • Persistence of Simple Substances.Markku Keinänen & Jani Hakkarainen - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (2):119-135.
    In this paper, we argue for a novel three-dimensionalist solution to the problem of persistence, i.e. cross-temporal identity. We restrict the discussion of persistence to simple substances, which do not have other substances as their parts. The account of simple substances employed in the paper is a trope-nominalist strong nuclear theory, which develops Peter Simons' trope nominalism. Regarding the distinction between three dimensionalism and four dimensionalism, we follow Michael Della Rocca's formulation, in which 3D explains persistence in virtue of same (...)
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  • Fission, Fusion and Intrinsic Facts.Katherine Hawley - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):602-621.
    Closest-continuer or best-candidate accounts of persistence seem deeply unsatisfactory, but it’s hard to say why. The standard criticism is that such accounts violate the ‘only a and b’ rule, but this criticism merely highlights a feature of the accounts without explaining why the feature is unacceptable. Another concern is that such accounts violate some principle about the supervenience of persistence facts upon local or intrinsic facts. But, again, we do not seem to have an independent justification for this supervenience claim. (...)
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  • Institutional Objects, Reductionism and Theories of Persistence.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (4):525-562.
    Can institutional objects be identified with physical objects that have been ascribed status functions, as advocated by John Searle in The Construction of Social Reality (1995)? The paper argues that the prospects of this identification hinge on how objects persist – i.e., whether they endure, perdure or exdure through time. This important connection between reductive identification and mode of persistence has been largely ignored in the literature on social ontology thus far.
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  • Persistence and Location in Relativistic Spacetime.Cody Gilmore - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1224-1254.
    How is the debate between endurantism and perdurantism affected by the transition from pre-relativistic spacetimes to relativistic ones? After suggesting that the endurance vs. perdurance distinction may run together a pair of cross-cutting distinctions, I discuss two recent attempts to show that the transition in question does serious damage to endurantism.
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  • Time Travel, Coinciding Objects, and Persistence.Cody Gilmore - 2007 - In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 3. Clarendon Press. pp. 177-198.
    Existing puzzles about coinciding objects can be divided into two types, corresponding to the manner in which they bear upon the endurantism v. perdurantism debate. Puzzles of the first type, which involve temporary spatial co-location, can be solved simply by abandoning endurantism in favor of perdurantism, whereas those of the second type, which involve career-long spatial co-location, remain equally puzzling on both views. I show that the possibility of backward time travel would give rise to a new type of puzzle. (...)
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  • Balashov on Special Relativity, Coexistence, and Temporal Parts.Cody S. Gilmore - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 109 (3):241-263.
    Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism is untenable in the context of Minkowski spacetime. Balashov's argument runs through two main theses concerning the relation of coexistence, or temporal co-location. Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and in Minkowski spacetime coexistence must be grounded in the relation of spacelike separation. If endurantism is true, then leads to absurd conclusions; but if perdurantism is true, then is harmless. I object to both theses. Against, I argue that coexistence (...)
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  • Where in the Relativistic World Are We?Cody Gilmore - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):199–236.
    I formulate a theory of persistence in the endurantist family and pose a problem for the conjunction of this theory with orthodox versions of special or general relativity. The problem centers around the question: Where are things?
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  • A Mereological Challenge to Endurantism.Nikk Effingham & Jon Robson - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):633 – 640.
    In this paper, we argue that time travel is problematic for the endurantist. For it appears to be possible, given time travel, to construct a wall out of a single time travelling brick. This commits the endurantist to one of the following: (a) the wall is composed of the time travelling brick many times over; (b) the wall does not in fact exist at all; (c) the wall is identical to the brick. We argue that each of these options is (...)
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  • Temporal Parts and Time Travel.Nikk Effingham - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (2):225-240.
    This paper argues that, in light of certain scenarios involving time travel, Sider’s definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’ cannot be accepted in conjunction with a semantic thesis that perdurantists often assume. I examine a rejoinder from Sider, as well as Thomson’s alternative definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’, and show how neither helps. Given this, we should give up on the perdurantist semantic thesis. I end by recommending that, once we no longer accept such semantics, we should accept a new set (...)
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  • Multiple Location Defended.Antony Eagle - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2215-2231.
    The notion of multiple location plays an important role in the characterization of endurantism. Several authors have recently offered cases intended to demonstrate the incoherence of multiple location. I argue that these cases do not succeed in making multiple location problematic. Along the way, several crucial issues about multiple location and its use by endurantists are clarified.
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  • Persistence, Vagueness, and Location.Antony Eagle - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (10):507-532.
    This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on material objects. These views, in (...)
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  • Why Four-Dimensionalism Explains Coincidence.Maya Eddon - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):721-728.
    In "Does Four-Dimensionalism Explain Coincidence" Mark Moyer argues that there is no reason to prefer the four-dimensionalist (or perdurantist) explanation of coincidence to the three-dimensionalist (or endurantist) explanation. I argue that Moyer's formulations of perdurantism and endurantism lead him to overlook the perdurantist's advantage. A more satisfactory formulation of these views reveals a puzzle of coincidence that Moyer does not consider, and the perdurantist's treatment of this puzzle is clearly preferable.
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  • Endurantist and Perdurantist Accounts of Persistence.Maureen Donnelly - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):27 - 51.
    In this paper, I focus on three issues intertwined in current debates between endurantists and perdurantists—(i) the dimension of persisting objects, (ii) whether persisting objects have timeless, or only time-relative, parts, and (iii) whether persisting objects have proper temporal parts. I argue that one standard endurantist position on the first issue is compatible with standard perdurantist positions on parthood and temporal parts. I further argue that different accounts of persistence depend on the claims about objects' dimensions and not on the (...)
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  • Was Bonaventure a Four-Dimensionalist?Damiano Costa - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (2):393-404.
    Bonaventure is sometimes taken to be an ante litteram champion of the four-dimensional theory of persistence. I argue that this interpretation is incorrect: Bonaventure was no four-dimensionalist.
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  • The Transcendentist Theory of Persistence.Damiano Costa - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (2):57-75.
    This paper develops an endurantist theory of persistence. The theory is built around one basic tenet, which concerns existence at a time – the relation between an object and the times at which that object is present. According to this tenet, which I call transcendentism, for an object to exist at a time is for it to participate in events that are located at that time. I argue that transcendentism is a semantically grounded and metaphysically fruitful. It is semantically grounded, (...)
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  • Putting the World Back Into Semantics.Barry Smith - 1993 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 44 (1):91-109.
    To what in reality do the logically simple sentences with empirical content correspond? Two extreme positions can be distinguished in this regard: 'Great Fact' theories, such as are defended by Davidson; and trope-theories, which see such sentences being made the simply by those events or states to which the relevant main verbs correspond. A position midway between these two extremes is defended, one according to which sentences of the given sort are made tme by what are called 'dependence structures', or (...)
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  • More Things in Heaven and Earth.Barry Smith - 1995 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 50 (1):187-201.
    Philosophers in the field of analytic metaphysics have begun gradually to come to terms with the fact that there are entities in a range of categories not dreamt of in the set-theory and predicate-logic-based ontologies of their forefathers. Examples of such “entia minora” would include: boundaries, places, events, states holes, shadows, individual colour- and tone-instances (tropes), together with combinations of these and associated simple and complex universal species or essences, states of affairs, judgment-contents, and myriad abstract structures of the sorts (...)
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  • Logical Parts.Laurie A. Paul - 2002 - Noûs 36 (4):578–596.
    I argue for a property mereology and for mereological bundle theory. I then apply this theory to the one over many problem (universals) and puzzles concerning persistence and material constitution.
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  • Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  • The Location of Properties.Nikk Effingham - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):846-866.
    This paper argues that, assuming properties exist and must be located in spacetime, the prevailing view that they are exactly located where their instances are is false. Instead a property is singularly located at just one region, namely the union of its instance's locations. This bears not just on issues in the metaphysics of properties, but also on the debate over whether multi-location is conceivable and/or possible.
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  • Undetached Parts and Disconnected Wholes.Achille C. Varzi - 2013 - In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Johanssonian Investigations. Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday. Ontos Verlag. pp. 696–708.
    I offer a diagnosis of the parallelism between the Doctrine of Potential Parts and the Doctrine of Potential Wholes and briefly examine its bearing on Johansson’s account of the Tibbles-Tib Problem.
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  • Processes, Continuants, and Individuals.Helen Steward - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):fzt080.
    The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and (...)
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