Not all worlds are stages

Philosophical Studies 116 (3):309-321 (2003)
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The stage theory is a four-dimensional account of persistence motivatedby the worm theory's inability to account for our intuitions in thecases involving coinciding objects. Like the worm theory, it claimsthat there are objects spread out in time, but unlike the worm theory,it argues that these spacetime worms are not familiar particulars liketables and chairs. Rather, familiar particulars are the instantaneoustemporal slices of worms. In order to explain our intuitions that particulars persist for more than an instant, the stage theory drawson the counterpart theory of modal possibilism, which it is supposedto parallel. In this paper I show how the stage theory presupposes thattime can be divided into instants, which I call the atomistic view oftime. I do this by laying out an alternative theory of the nature oftime, the gunky view, and show that if time is gunky the stage theorycollapses into the worm theory. The deeper problem is that the merepossibility of gunky time would cause the stage theory's parallels topossibilism to break down. I therefore conclude that the stage theoryis committed to the view that time is necessarily atomistic. Finally,in the last section I argue that the fact that the stage theory rulesout a priori the possibility of time being gunky gives us reason toreject it as an account of persistence.



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Joshua Stuchlik
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Citations of this work

Temporal Parts.Katherine Hawley - 2004/2010 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.
On Stage with Gunk.Daniel Giberman - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):228-238.
What it takes to be hunky.Daniel Giberman - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):51-57.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Sensations and brain processes.Jjc Smart - 1959 - Philosophical Review 68 (April):141-56.
Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.

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