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Type: Thesis
Title: Opening a Can of Spacetime Worms: The Metaphysics of Persistence
Author: Wardle, Danny George
Issue Date: 2021
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: This thesis is composed of three essays on the perdurantist approach to persistence and identity over time. In Chapter 1, I discuss how the following papers are to be understood as parts of a unified perdurantist account of persistence over time. This chapter also outlines some of my philosophical assumptions and provides some background information about the metaphysics of persistence. In Chapter 2, I respond to the objection that the worm theory is unable to account for our intuitions about ordinary counting sentences. I do this by invoking the standard linguistic phenomenon of covert quantifier domain restriction and supplementing the worm theory with situation semantics. My version of the worm theory makes our intuitive judgements come out true, and it does so well enough that there is no need to adopt the stage theory or revisionary theories of counting. Furthermore, my version of the worm theory offers a unified account of event- and object-related counting. Chapter 3 focuses on a commonly neglected difference between different kinds of perdurantism, which are differences in mereological priority. I discuss three different views: parts-first perdurantism, no-priority perdurantism, and wholes-first perdurantism. I briefly outline all three views and some of the motivations for each of them. I fend off objections from and motivations for no-priority perdurantism. I also contend that intraperdurantist debates about phenomenology ought not to be framed with respect to these forms of perdurantism. Instead, I suggest that the relativity of simultaneity presents an interesting scenario for parts-first and wholes-first perdurantists. I respond to Thomas Pashby’s arguments against the doctrine of temporal parts in Chapter 3. Pashby argues that metaphysicians ought to give an account of how quantum systems persist over time and that nonrelativistic quantum mechanics is incompatible with perdurantism. I contend that his arguments rely on controversial, non-standard assumptions about the existence and importance of time observables. I demonstrate that perdurantists have no problem giving an account of how quantum systems persist over time in reference to an external time parameter. Finally, I conclude with a summary of my arguments and some thoughts about directions for future research.
Advisor: Eagle, Antony
Fernandez, Jorge
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Mphil) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, Philosophy, 2021
Keywords: four dimensionalism
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