(2016) Axiomathes 26 (4).

Lewis, change and temporary intrinsics

Mario Alai

pp. 467-487

This is an attempt to sort out what is it that makes many of us uncomfortable with the perdurantist solution to the problem of change. Lewis argues that only perdurantism can reconcile change with persistence over time, while neither presentism nor endurantism can. So, first, I defend the endurantist solution to the problem of change, by arguing that what is relative to time are not properties, but their possession. Second, I explore the anti-perdurantist strategy of arguing that Lewis cannot solve the problem of change, for he cannot account for how some properties are possessed by objects in time. However, I argue that this strategy fails, for if by saying that objects in time can have properties "timelessly' we mean "at no particular time" and "tenselessly", only objects outside time can have properties in that way; but if we mean "for all the time they exist", or "essentially", perdurantists can account for this. Finally, I argue that actually perdurantism cannot solve the problem, but for different reasons: for either it sweeps the problem under the carpet, denying change, and in general subverting our conceptual scheme in a dangerous way, or it becomes equivalent to the endurantist picture that properties are had at times. Nor perdurantism is justified by the Relativity Theory or the B-theory of time, because while endurantism is certainly comfortable with presentism, it need not be committed to it; and even if it were, presentism need not be refuted by the Relativity Theory.

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Full citation:

Alai, M. (2016). Lewis, change and temporary intrinsics. Axiomathes 26 (4), pp. 467-487.

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