An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space by Bas C. Van Fraassen

By Bas C. Van Fraassen

An introductory, old survey of philosophical positions on house and time, in the course of the certain concept of relativity and the causal conception of time.

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Let us say that a house is located wherever some substantial part of it, such as a wall, floor, or roof, is located. Now, consider two houses which share a wall. Each house is located where their shared wall is located. So, there are two houses at that location, but harmlessly so. No philosopher would complain that this involves a needless multiplication of houses. The two houses are at the place where their shared wall is located in virtue of the wall being located there. We might say that all that is located where the two houses share their location is the wall.

Indeed, without it the identity puzzles could not get off the ground. The argument introducing the puzzle of the statue and the clay depended on the following crucial move. It looks reasonable to infer from Clay, on the 23rd, being in the future spherical, together with the identity of Clay and Statue on that date, that, on the 23rd, Statue is in the future spherical. What licenses that inference? The answer is that the inference is licensed by something that has come to be known as Leibniz’s Law, or the indiscernibility of identicals.

6I am using ‘four-dimensionalism’ to apply to any view according to which an object persists in virtue of shorter-lived stages existing at different times. On that usage a stage theorist is a four-dimensionalist. Suppose I persist to tomorrow morning. For the stage theorist that will be so because the present stage who is me is suitably related to a tomorrow morning stage. 7Though you might be both. You might think that stage theory applies to some objects and perdurantism to others. 8Hobbes describes his version of the ship of Theseus in Hobbes 1999.

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