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

Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/a:1024413302197
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

View all 42 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
241 ( #46,867 of 2,520,420 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #100,785 of 2,520,420 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes