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Haslanger, Sally, , . Persistence Through Time
2003, In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, 315-354.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Introduction: Things change: objects come into existence, last for a while, go out of existence, move through space, change their parts, change their qualities, change in their relations to things. All this would seem to be uncontroversial. But philosophical attention to any of these phenomena can generate perplexity and has resulted in a number of long-standing puzzles. One of the most famous puzzles about change threatens to demonstrate that nothing can persist through time, that all existence is momentary at best. Let’s use the term ‘alteration’ for the sort of change that occurs when a persisting object changes its properties.

Comment: A good overview of the philosophical issues involved in persistence through time. Would be a good preliminary material in a philosophy of time course. Or, since this is a fundamental philosophical problem, could be used in an introduction to philosophy course as a more clear alternative or supplement to ancient sources.

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Kleinschmidt, Shieva, , . Refining Four-Dimensionalism
2017, Synthese 194(11): 4623-4640.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Current formulations of Four-Dimensionalism may be objected to on grounds that they are too inflexible: the formulations do not seem to allow for enough variety in the views they are paired with. For instance, Kit Fine has noted that formulations of Four-Dimensionalism in terms of instantaneous parts may be too demanding for Four-Dimensionalists who believe nothing is instantaneous. And Trenton Merricks has argued that one can think something persists four-dimensionally without taking it to have proper temporal parts, and claims that our formulation of Four-Dimensionalism should be revised to allow for this. I will add my own worries to those of Fine and Merricks. I will note that current formulations of Four-Dimensionalism are not sufficiently neutral with respect to the structure of time, with respect to how liberally objects decompose into parts, and with respect to whether objects and the regions they fill match in mereological structure. I will show that we can formulate Four-Dimensionalism in a sufficiently neutral way, while still producing a view that can do the work we typically require of Four-Dimensionalism.

Comment: A great further reading for a unit on persistence through time – a little too specialised to be a core reading – unless for a masters course, because it requires that readers have a prior (good) understanding of traditional four-dimensionalism. If one’s students do have this grasp (e.g. in an MA course) then it could be good to set them the task of reading this paper, and outlining how they think four-dimensionalism entails certain commitments – e.g. not being neutral regarding theories of time.

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Miller, Kristie, , . Ought a four-dimensionalist to believe in temporal parts?
2009, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39(4): 619-646.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper presents the strongest version of a non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism: a theory according to which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in space-time, but not in virtue of having maximal temporal parts. The aims of considering such a view are twofold. First, to evaluate whether such an account could provide a plausible middle ground between the two main competitor accounts of persistence: three-dimensionalism and perdurantist four-dimensionalism. Second, to see what light such a theory sheds on the debate between these two competitor theories. I conclude that despite prima facie reasons to suppose that non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism might be a credible alternative to either other account of persistence, ultimately the view is unsuccessful. The reasons for its failure illuminate the sometimes stagnant debate between three-dimensionalists and perdurantists, providing new reasons to prefer a perdurantist metaphysics.

Comment: This would be useful in particular as either i) a set reading for an advanced UG or MA metaphysics course, where students have been taught (e.g. in the lecture) about endurantism or perdurantism, or ii) as a secondary reading for such a course, because of how it examines further beyond the ‘four-dimensionalists are perdurantists; three-dimensionalists are endurantists’ categories.

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