Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107 - 134 (2003)

Authors
Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel
Abstract
In his excellent recent book, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Sider, 2001), Theodore Sider defends a version of four-dimensionalism which he calls the ‘stage-theory’: according to this view, ordinary persisting objects are analyzed as being identical to momentary stages; they persist by having temporal counterparts at other times. Despite all of its many significant virtues, however, Sider’s case for four-dimensionalism is troubling in certain crucial respects, both philosophically and meta-philosophically. My purpose in this paper is to show that, when we evaluate Sider’s evidence in favor of the stage-theory, a different assessment of the dialectical situation from that endorsed by Sider recommends itself. In the end, everything turns on ‘the argument from vagueness’ (Sider, 2001, ch. 4), arguably the most important and innovative argument Sider offers in support of four-dimensionalism. Due to the problematic nature of the argument from vagueness, Sider’s case in favor of four-dimensionalism is in the end not successful. Given the philosophically and meta-philosophically troubling consequences of the argument from vagueness, we are better off with a different ontology and a different conception of what it means to do metaphysics from that endorsed by Sider.
Keywords Four dimensionalism  Three dimensionalism  Endurance  Perdurance  Stage theory  Argument from vagueness  Mereology  Unrestricted mereological composition
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Reprint years 2004
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DOI 10.1023/a:1024413302197
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Ontological Anti-Realism.David Chalmers - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Argument From Vagueness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
Neo-Aristotelian Plenitude.Ross Inman - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):583-597.

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