The Metaphysics of Identity Over Time
Saint Martin&s Press, 1993 - 228 ページ
The standard account of the persistence of objects through time and change is the classical theory of spatio-temporal continuity. It is thought that an informative grounding of identity can be given in terms of what is seen to be a common-sense notion. Apart from being prone to numerous counter-examples which show continuity to be neither necessary nor sufficient for identity, it is also shown to require an ontology of temporal parts by which persisting objects are reduced to collections of temporally extended segments or stages. It is this ontology, and the reductionism it implies that is the subject of the author's criticism. It is the orthodox theory of identity over time, inspired by David Hume and adhered to by the vast majority of contemporary theorists. Identity and change, the very idea of unitary persisting objects, are seen as metaphysically illusory. The author shows that this sceptical theory is, contrary to the opinion of its supporters, unwarranted by the modern physics of space-time, and conceptually incoherent. It is argued that reductionism must be discarded and that theorists must abandon the attempt to find an informative analysis of identity. Rather, it should be seen as metaphysically basic, and the problems and puzzle cases of identity must be dealt with in that light.
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