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Title: How things persist
Author: Hawley, K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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In chapter 1 I introduce the initially most plausible account of persistence, called "endurance theory". According to endurance theory, objects are wholly present at every moment at which they exist. I consider three major problems for the theory. First, there is the problem of change: how can a single object have different properties at different times, without contradiction? Second, the theory must explain how, for example, a statue relates to the lump of clay which makes it up, given that they have different histories. Third, the theory must explain how there can be vague matters of identity over time. I conclude that this initially plausible account of persistence has great difficulty in dealing with these three problems. In chapter 2 I introduce a rival account of persistence, "perdurance theory". According to perdurance theory, persisting objects are four-dimensional, and are present at different moments by having different temporal parts at those different moments. This account is much less appealing on the surface, but I show that it makes a better job of solving the three problems, presented in chapter 1. In chapter 3 I assess the metaphysical consequences of an argument by Saul Kripke about the persistence of a completely homogeneous disc, which may or may not be rotating. Kripke takes this argument to cause grave problems for perdurance theory, but I argue that the theory can survive if modified. This modification may, for some, reduce the appeal of the theory, but other advantages of perdurance theory remain. In chapter 4 I investigate the notion of a criterion of identity, partly for its own sake, but partly because it is important for the broader discussion of persistence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available