Perdurantism or perdurance theory is a philosophical theory of persistence and identity.The perdurantist view is that an individual has distinct temporal parts throughout its existence. Perdurantism is usually presented as the antipode to endurantism, the view that an individual is wholly present at every moment of its existence.
In philosophy, identity, from Latin: identitas ("sameness"), is the relation each thing bears only to itself. The notion of identity gives rise to many philosophical problems, including the identity of indiscernibles, and questions about change and personal identity over time.
In contemporary metaphysics, temporal parts are the parts of an object that exist in time. A temporal part would be something like "the first year of a person's life", or "all of a table from between 10:00 a.m. on June 21, 1994 to 11:00 p.m. on July 23, 1996". The term is used in the debate over the persistence of material objects. Objects typically have parts that exist in space—a human body, for example, has spatial parts like hands, feet, and legs. Some metaphysicists believe objects have temporal parts as well.
Endurantism or endurance theory is a philosophical theory of persistence and identity. According to the endurantist view, material objects are persisting three-dimensional individuals wholly present at every moment of their existence, which goes with an A-theory of time. This conception of an individual as always present is opposed to perdurantism or four dimensionalism, which maintains that an object is a series of temporal parts or stages, requiring a B-theory of time. The use of "endure" and "perdure" to distinguish two ways in which an object can be thought to persist can be traced to David Lewis.
The use of "endure" and "perdure" to distinguish two ways in which an object can be thought to persist can be traced to David Kellogg Lewis (1986). However, contemporary debate has demonstrated the difficulties in defining perdurantism (and also endurantism). For instance, the work of Ted Sider (2001) has suggested that even enduring objects can have temporal parts, and it is more accurate to define perdurantism as being the claim that objects have a temporal part at every instant that they exist. Currently there is no universally acknowledged definition of perdurantism.Others argue that this problem is avoided by creating time as a continuous function, rather than a discrete one.
In mathematics, a continuous function is a function for which sufficiently small changes in the input result in arbitrarily small changes in the output. Otherwise, a function is said to be a discontinuous function. A continuous function with a continuous inverse function is called a homeomorphism.
Perdurantism is also referred to as "four-dimensionalism" (by Ted Sider, in particular) but perdurantism also applies if one believes there are temporal but non-spatial abstract entities (like immaterial souls or universals of the sort accepted by David Malet Armstrong).
In philosophy, four-dimensionalism is an ontological position that an object's persistence through time is like its extension through space. Thus, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies, just like an object that exists in a region of space has at least one part in every subregion of that space.
David Malet Armstrong, often D. M. Armstrong, was an Australian philosopher. He is well known for his work on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, and for his defence of a factualist ontology, a functionalist theory of the mind, an externalist epistemology, and a necessitarian conception of the laws of nature. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Perdurantists break into two distinct sub-groups: worm theorists and stage theorists.
Worm theorists believe that a persisting object is composed of the various temporal parts that it has. It can be said that objects that persist are extended through the time dimension of the block universe much as physical objects are extended in space. Thus, they believe that all persisting objects are four-dimensional "worms" that stretch across space-time, and that you are mistaken in believing that chairs, mountains, and people are simply three-dimensional.
Stage theorists take discussion of persisting objects to be talk of a particular temporal part, or stage, of an object at any given time. So, in a manner of speaking, a subject only exists for an instantaneous period of time. However, there are other temporal parts at other times which that subject is related to in a certain way (Sider talks of "modal counterpart relations",whilst Hawley talks of "non-Humean relations") such that when someone says that they were a child, or that they will be an elderly person, these things are true, because they bear a special "identity-like" relation to a temporal part that is a child (that exists in the past) or a temporal part that is an elderly person (that exists in the future). Stage theorists are sometimes called "exdurantists".
It has been argued that stage theory, unlike the worm theory, should be favored as it accurately accounts for the contents of our experience. The latter requires that we currently experience more than a single moment of our lives while we actually find ourselves experiencing only one instant of time, in line with the stage view.However, on the other hand, as Stuchlik (2003) states, the stage theory will not work under the possibility of gunky time, which states that for every interval of time, there is a sub-interval, and according to Zimmerman (1996), there have been many self-professed perdurantists who believe that time is gunky or contains no instants. Some perdurantists think the idea of gunk means there are no instants, since they define these as intervals of time with no subintervals.
In mereology, an area of philosophical logic, the term gunk applies to any whole whose parts all have further proper parts. That is, a gunky object is not made of indivisible atoms or simples. Because parthood is transitive, any part of gunk is itself gunk.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.
In philosophy and mathematical logic, mereology is the study of parts and the wholes they form. Whereas set theory is founded on the membership relation between a set and its elements, mereology emphasizes the meronomic relation between entities, which—from a set-theoretic perspective—is closer to the concept of inclusion between sets.
Philosophy of space and time is the branch of philosophy concerned with the issues surrounding the ontology, epistemology, and character of space and time. While such ideas have been central to philosophy from its inception, the philosophy of space and time was both an inspiration for and a central aspect of early analytic philosophy. The subject focuses on a number of basic issues, including whether time and space exist independently of the mind, whether they exist independently of one another, what accounts for time's apparently unidirectional flow, whether times other than the present moment exist, and questions about the nature of identity.
Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future nor the past exist. In some versions of presentism, this view is extended to timeless objects or ideas. According to presentism, events and entities that are wholly past or wholly future do not exist at all. Presentism contrasts with eternalism and the growing block theory of time which hold that past events, like the Battle of Manzikert, and past entities, like Alexander the Great's warhorse Bucephalus, really do exist, although not in the present. Eternalism extends to future events as well.
In philosophy, A series and B series are two different descriptions of the temporal ordering relation among events. The two series differ principally in their use of tense to describe the temporal relation between events. The terms were introduced by the Scottish idealist philosopher John McTaggart in 1908 as part of his argument for the unreality of time, but since then they have become widely used terms of reference in modern discussions of the philosophy of time.
In philosophy, the term formal ontology is used to refer to an ontology defined by axioms in a formal language with the goal to provide an unbiased view on reality, which can help the modeler of domain- or application-specific ontologies to avoid possibly erroneous ontological assumptions encountered in modeling large-scale ontologies.
In contemporary mereology, a simple is any thing that has no proper parts. Sometimes the term "atom" is used, although in recent years the term "simple" has become the standard.
In philosophy, Mereological essentialism is a mereological thesis about the relationship between wholes, their parts, and the conditions of their persistence. According to mereological essentialism, objects have their parts necessarily. If an object were to lose or gain a part, it would cease to exist; it would no longer be the original object but a new and different one.
The B-theory of time is the name given to one of two positions regarding philosophy of time. B-theorists argue that the flow of time is an illusion, that the past, present and future are equally real, and that time is tenseless. This would mean that temporal becoming is not an objective feature of reality.
In philosophy, specifically in the area of modal metaphysics, counterpart theory is an alternative to standard (Kripkean) possible-worlds semantics for interpreting quantified modal logic. Counterpart theory still presupposes possible worlds, but differs in certain important respects from the Kripkean view. The form of the theory most commonly cited was developed by David Lewis, first in a paper and later in his book On the Plurality of Worlds.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. Cosmology and ontology are traditional branches of metaphysics. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world. Someone who studies metaphysics can be called either a "metaphysician" or a "metaphysicist".
In metaphysics, the multiple occupancy view (m.o.) is a particular analysis of fission cases, which claims to be at least a priori possible, if not actually true of real cases of fission. Imagine an amoeba which undergoes symmetrical fission into two sister amoebae. We tend to think that before fission there was one amoeba, but what has happened to it? It has not died, for death is a biological state, and there are no dead amoebae lying around after the fission! In fact, there is more life after the fission than there was before, i.e. two live amoebae instead of just one. Has A somehow ceased to exist without dying? Is A still around, and identical with either B or C? It cannot be identified with both B and C, for identity is a transitive relation, and B is certainly not the same amoeba as C. Yet, the fission was symmetrical, so neither B nor C has any more or less claim to be A than the other. This is the problem. We seem to be forced to say that A has ceased to exist, but the m.o. view provides us with another option, consistent with all of the above considerations. The m.o. view is that there were two distinct but coincident amoebae before fission, occupying the same body of matter, but which diverge upon fission into the same two distinct, but no longer coincident, amoebae. The number of amoebae hasn't increased, i.e. there were two before fission, and there are the same two after fission. The amoeba has "divided without multiplying"! The m.o. view has also been applied to hypothetical cases of symmetrical fission involving persons. On the face of it, the m.o. view contravenes the principle of identity of indiscernibles. However, one and the same physical object can be a proper part of two or more distinct objects, which leads to four-dimensionalism, whereby, for example, an amoeba at a time is a temporal part of an amoeba extended in time, i.e., objects have temporal parts.
Donald Cary Williams, usually cited as D. C. Williams, was an American philosopher and a professor at both the University of California Los Angeles and at Harvard University.
Katherine Hawley is a British philosopher specialising in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of physics. Hawley is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. She is the author of How Things Persist, and Trust: a Very Short Introduction, as well as numerous publications on testimony and knowledge-how. She is the Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh and the recipient of Philip Leverhulme Prize..
Compositional objects are wholes instantiated by collections of parts. If an ontology wishes to permit the inclusion of compositional objects it must define which collections of objects are to be considered parts composing a whole. Mereology, the study of relationships between parts and their wholes, provides specifications on how parts must relate to one another in order to compose a whole.