Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Partless Hotdogs

So none of the following views of persistence is committed to any particular view of time: endurantism, perdurantism, and exdurantism. But is there a coherent version of Partless Hotdog view that is presentist?


Blogger rock* said...

I'm not entirely convinced that perdurantism, endurantism, and exdurantism are consistent with any particular view of time. In order to defend this thesis, one would have to formulate each of these views so that the formulation in question is consistent with both presentism and eternalism (and with growing block theory, the Fowler-Spencer view, etc., although I will ignore those complications). That is, one would need a formulation of endurantism such that that formulation is consistent with both presentism and eternalism, a formulation of perdurantism such that that formulation is consistent with both presentism and eternalism, etc. It does not suffice to show that a presentist may accept a perdurantist-sounding view of persistence, and so on. I take it that, in the latter case, what one really has is two views concerning persistence that sound very similar: one amenable to presentism and one amenable to eternalism.

Thus far, I have not seen any worked-out statement of perdurantism that is consistent with both presentism and eternalism, and similarly for endurantism and exdurantism. Perhaps they are out there and perhaps one of you could give me some pointers about where to find them. But, as I said, I have not seen them.

On the other hand, perhaps your question is not whether the Partless Hotdog view is consistent with both eternalism and presentism, but rather whether a view concerning persistence that is consistent with presentism and that sounds a lot like the Partless Hotdog view can be formulated. Perhaps so. I don't know. I suspect that if one can come up with a view that sounds a lot like perdurantism but is consistent with presentism, one can come up with a view that sounds a lot like the Partless Hotdog view but is consistent with presentism. This is especially so if we are willing to advert to some sort of stuff theory, so that even though a persisting object has no temporal parts, there is stuff that is located at every temporal subregion of the region occupied by the object. Then whatever fancy maneuvers one does with parts to get a presentist-friendly perdurantism-sounding theory, one can do with stuff to get a presentist-friendly Partless Hotdog-sounding theory.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Chris Tillman said...

Consider the following claim: Objects persist in virtue of perduring. An object perdurs iff either: it now as a stage, and did have or will have a distinct stage, or it did have a stage and it also had an earlier or later stage, or it will have a stage and will have an earlier or later stage.

We could go on to give an appropriate account of what it is to have a stage, yielding an adequate account of perdurance. But assuming nothing goes horribly wrong in characterizing stages, the above formulation seems neutral between presentism and eternalism (and presumably other views as well). Presentists will probably treat the tenses as unanalyzed or analyze them in terms of present facts. Eternalists will probably provide a reductive account of the tenses in terms of multiple times. But these differences don't seem to affect the nature of the claim made about *persistence*. So something like this seems neutral to me. And something similar seems like it could be done for other views of persistence.

What I worry about in the Partless Hotdog case is that a time-neutral formulation would seem to collapse Partless Hotdogism into endurantism in the presentist case. But perhaps this is not so if the Partless Hotdogist carries a commitment to stuff that the endurantist lacks.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

x persist iff x is a partless hotdog. Something is a partless hotdog iff there is some stuff and either there will be some stuff or there was some stuff and each of these portions of stuff bears a special mysterious relation to the (never quite existing) satisfier of 'x'.

That is my first attempt

11:57 AM  
Blogger rock* said...

Presumably the mysterious relation Joshua refers to is the "stuff-stage" relation, the analogue of the being a stage of relation that a presentist perdurantist (apparently) accepts.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Chris Tillman said...

In order for there to be temporal stuff, does the stuff have to be extended along the temporal dimension? If not, it seems that presentist partless hotdogism is presentist endurantism. We could distinguish the views using counterfactuals with antecedents that are impossible if presentism is true (and necessarily true). But then I'm worried about what it is in virtue of that something actually persists (assuming the necessary truth of presentism). But if presentism is necessarily true, and x is composed of temporal stuff at a world only if x is temporally extended at w, then it seems that all that "grounds" the 'in virtue of' claim about a persisting x at the actual world is counterfactuals with impossible antecedents that distinguish the thing(s) in question at impossible worlds. One would like a meatier distinction or a good reason not to be worried about the otiose propositions that ground the actual difference between actual objects that persist by enduring and those that persist by partless hotdogging (on the assumption that presentism is necessarily true).

9:51 AM  

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