Kim argues that weak and global supervenience are too weak to guarantee any sort of dependency. Of the three original forms of supervenience, strong, weak, and global, each commonly wielded across all branches of philosophy, two are thus cast aside as uninteresting or useless. His arguments, however, fail to appreciate the strength of weak and global supervenience. I investigate what weak and global supervenience relations are functionally and how they relate to strong supervenience. For a large class of properties, weak (...) and global supervenience are equivalent to strong supervenience. I then offer a series of arguments showing that it is precisely because of their strength, not their weakness, that both weak and global supervenience are useless in characterizing any dependencies of interest to philosophers. (shrink)
Puzzles about persistence and change through time, i.e., about identity across time, have foundered on confusion about what it is for ‘two things’ to be have ‘the same thing’ at a time. This is most directly seen in the dispute over whether material objects can occupy exactly the same place at the same time. This paper defends the possibility of such coincidence against several arguments to the contrary. Distinguishing a temporally relative from an absolute sense of ‘the same’, we see (...) that the intuition, ‘this is only one thing’, and the dictum, ‘two things cannot occupy the same place at the same time’, are individuating things at a time rather than absolutely and are therefore compatible with coincidence. Several other objections philosophers have raised ride on this same ambiguity. Burke, originating what has become the most popular objection to coincidence, argues that if coincidence is possible there would be no explanation of how objects that are qualitatively the same at a time could belong to different sorts. But we can explain an object’s sort by appealing to its properties at other times. Burke’s argument to the contrary equivocates on different notions of ‘cross-time identity’ and ‘the statue’. From a largely negative series of arguments emerges a positive picture of what it means to say multiple things coincide and of why an object’s historical properties explain its sort rather than vice versa – in short, of how coincidence is possible. (shrink)
The fission of a person involves what common sense describes as a single person surviving as two distinct people. Thus, say most metaphysicians, this paradox shows us that common sense is inconsistent with the transitivity of identity. Lewis’s theory of overlapping persons, buttressed with tensed identity, gives us one way to reconcile the common sense claims. Lewis’s account, however, implausibly says that reference to a person about to undergo fission is ambiguous. A better way to reconcile the claims of common (...) sense, one that avoids this ambiguity, is to recognize branching persons, persons who have multiple pasts or futures. (shrink)
For those who think the statue and the piece of copper that compose it are distinct objects that coincide, there is a burden of explanation. After all, common sense says that different ordinary objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. A common argument in favour of four-dimensionalism (or ?perdurantism? or ?temporal parts theory?) is that it provides the resources for a superior explanation of this coincidence. This, however, is mistaken. Any explanatory work done by the four-dimensionalist notion (...) of absolute parthood rests ultimately on notions equally available to the three-dimensionalist. Thus, a neutral explanation of coincidence is at least as good while avoiding commitment to temporal parts. ?Many thanks to David Christensen, Louis deRosset, Matti Eklund, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. (shrink)
Can different material objects have the same parts at all times at which they exist? This paper defends the possibility of such coincidence against the main argument to the contrary, the ‘Indiscernibility Argument’. According to this argument, the modal supervenes on the nonmodal, since, after all, the non-modal is what grounds the modal; hence, it would be utterly mysterious if two objects sharing all parts had different essential properties. The weakness of the argument becomes apparent once we understand how the (...) modal is grounded in the nonmodal. By extending the ideas of combinatorialism so that we recombine haecceities as well as fundamental properties, we see how modal properties can be grounded in non-modal properties in a way that allows coincidence and yet also explains why there are differences in the modal properties of coinciding objects. Despite this, some de re modal facts are not grounded in the non-modal but instead are brute. However, although we cannot explain why a particular object has the basic modal properties it has, we can explain a closely related, semantic fact and, comparing the facts we can’t explain to more familiar brute facts, we understand why there should be no better explanation. As a result, we can see how coincidence is, after all, possible. (shrink)
A radical metaphysical theory typically comes packaged with a semantic theory that reconciles those radical claims with common sense. The metaphysical theory says what things exist and what their natures are, while the semantic theory specifies, in terms of these things, how we are to interpret everyday language. Thus may we “think with the learned, and speak with the vulgar.” This semantic accommodation of common sense, however, can end up undermining the very theory it is designed to protect. This paper (...) is a case study, showing in detail how one popular version of temporal parts theory is self-undermining. This raises the specter that the problem generalizes to other metaphysical theories. (shrink)
What is the relation between weak and strong supervenience? Kim claims that weak supervenience is weaker, that it fails to entail strong supervenience. But he mistakenly infers this in virtue of logical form. In fact, one line of reasoning suggests weak supervenience _does_ entail strong. Following this line, we see that weak and strong supervenience.
Weak and global supervenience are equivalent to strong supervenience for intrinsic properties. Moreover, weak and global supervenience relations are always mere parts of a more general underlying strong supervenience relation. Most appeals to global supervenience, though, involve spatio-temporally relational properties; but here too, global and strong supervenience are equivalent. _Functionally_ we can characterize merely weak and global supervenience as follows: for A to supervene on B requires that at all worlds an individual’s A properties be a function of its B (...) properties, where this function varies from world to world. But what are the. (shrink)